“We were lucky today,” the United manager said.
Van Gaal was less impressed that Michel Vorm was involved so infrequently in the opposite goal.
Tottenham’s response to the goal smacked of a team who are undermined by their fragile nerves.
Spurs did have spells when they looked dangerous, but there were long periods when they were obliging opponents, whereas a better side would surely have made more of the fact that United had a new-look defense.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team wilted in a way that does not say a great deal for their competitive.
It was startling to see how passive they became until that late spell of pressure.
It was not entirely easy to imagine how they plan to narrow the gap to the top four this season.
Instead, United had more of the ball without delivering a performance that was ever more than 5 out of 10.
Spurs were entitled to feel their luck was out, at least to some degree, but more than anything they should regard it as a wasted opportunity.
It was an error-strewn performance from both sides and probably appropriate that the game’s decisive moment stemmed from a moment of carelessness.