Manchester United proved on Sunday that their rejuvenation under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not a nine days’ wonder after Marcus Rashford raced on to a Paul Pogba pin-point pass to seal a 1-0 win against Tottenham.
The two sides went toe-to-toe in an open game, but while both teams had multiple chances, United goalkeeper David de Gea proved the difference, making a string of phenomenal saves with 11 coming in the second half.
Solskjaer’s faith in Rashford as the main striker was rewarded in the 44th minute when the 21-year-old scored the all-important goal.
Paul Pogba sparkled for United, engaging in a personal duel with Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris for periods of the second half.
United’s victory is their fifth successive Premier League win under their temporary manager in a contest seen as his first major test since he took over from the sacked Jose Mourinho last month.
Earlier, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham settled quickly into their fluid passing game at Wembley, enjoying the bulk of possession.
They went close to taking the lead when Harry Winks, seemingly unsure whether to shoot or cross, fired the ball across the face of the United goal after a through pass by Son Heung-min.
Minutes later the visitors had a chance to take the lead when Jesse Lingard volleyed over after Ashley Young’s cross fell to him.
United strikeforce of Lingard, Anthony Martial and Rashford raced forward at every opportunity creating problems for Spurs before Lloris pulled a near-post save from Martial.
Moussa Sissoko pulled up sharply with an apparent hamstring injury and although he returned to the pitch he was unable to continue and was replaced by Erik Lamela.
The decisive moment in the match came shortly before half-time.
Lingard collected a careless cross-field ball from Kieran Trippier and found Pogba, who had time to look up and measure a raking cross-field pass to Rashford, racing down the right.
Rashford still had plenty to do but kept his nerve to fire right-footed past Lloris and into the far corner to evade Lloris’s fingertips.
Tottenham came out of the blocks smartly after the restart and Kane looked certain to level from close range, but De Gea saved brilliantly with his left foot before pulling off a fine save to deny Dele Alli a headed effort.
Ashley Young sent over an inviting cross that Pogba headed straight at Lloris and the Spurs goalkeeper had to be alert to tip over another Pogba follow-up that came at the end of a long spell of United possession.
Spurs, roared on by a passionate home crowd, were building up a head of steam and Alli had a golden chance to equalise but De Gea was again equal to the task, saving with his legs.
The Spaniard produced yet another stunning save to keep out Toby Alderweireld before flying to his right to cling on to a Kane free-kick.
Spurs had further chances in a nervy ending but could find no way past De Gea who came up with man of the match game.
The win takes United level with fifth-placed Arsenal at 41 points and six behind Chelsea, currently in the fourth and final Champions League spot, but Spurs remain nine points behind leaders Liverpool.
Things could be looking good for Solskjaer with Brighton coming to Old Trafford in the next fixture as Arsenal host Chelsea at Emirates in a London derby.