Tottenham secured their first win under the management of Ange Postecoglou and in the post-Harry Kane era with a thrilling and deserved victory over Manchester United.
There were pre-match demonstrations against chairman Daniel Levy and owners ENIC, but Postecoglou was given a thunderous reception and once the action got under way Spurs responded with a vivid demonstration of the attacking style that is the Australian’s trademark.
Spurs and United created chances throughout a sometimes chaotic encounter before the deadlock was broken by Pape Matar Sarr’s goal, drilled high into the net from close range four minutes after the interval.
In a game of numerous chances, Spurs sealed the victory in front of the ecstatic home support after 83 minutes when Ivan Perisic’s cross took a touch off Ben Davies before going in via Lisandro Martinez.
The home side hit the woodwork twice in the first half through Pedro Porro and Luke Shaw’s deflection, while Antony hit the upright for United, new Spurs keeper Guglielmo Vicario saved superbly from Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes somehow headed wide of an open goal in the first half.
Both sides also had penalty appeals turned down when Cristian Romero handled and then when the Spurs defender appeared to be bundled to the ground by Martinez at the other end, but ultimately it was Spurs’ greater attacking intent that made the difference.
When Postecoglou was appointed by Tottenham, it was with the express desire to move away from the dull fare dished up by Nuno Espirito Santo, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte during a loveless period between Spurs fans and their managers.
And if his first two games are any measure, Spurs will be entertaining to watch come what may this season because this was the perfect illustration of the positive manner in which he wants his teams to play and was the hallmark of his work at Celtic.
It can be a high-risk strategy and will give the opposition chances, as even an off-colour United proved, but such was the quality, energy and sheer attacking intent shown by Spurs that they eventually overpowered Erik ten Hag’s side and revelled in a prolonged standing ovation after the final whistle.
Yves Bissouma was outstanding in midfield, looking a player re-born after a first season of struggle following his move from Brighton, while James Maddison strode through the game with a real joy in his play and looked perfectly at home.
No one in their right mind would suggest for one second that a player of Kane’s world class standing will not be missed, but Spurs fans can at least take real optimism from the opening salvos delivered by Postecoglou’s new-look side.