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It was a wonderful moment of pure genius from Tanguy Ndombele.
And an important moment for Jose Mourinho in the context of Tottenham ’s season as victory pushed them back into the fringes of a wide open title race.
Ndombele was almost moving backwards and, with the most outrageous piece of audacious skill, hooked a right footed shot over the advancing Sheffield United keeper Aaron Ramsdale.
It was a breathtaking goal, one of the highest quality, which will surely be the best of Tottenham’s season if not a contender for the best of the Premier League season. It was as if Ndombele had eyes in the back of his head.
Tanguy Ndombele's sensational lob helped Tottenham beat Sheffield United
(Image: Getty Images)
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But it also restored Tottenham’s two goal lead just at a time when they were beginning to have a familiar wobble and looked vulnerable at Bramall Lane.
Tottenham have been guilty of throwing away leads on far too many occasions this season – particularly late on – when dropped points have cost them dear, just as it did against Fulham midweek.
You could sense that Mourinho even got a bit irritated in a pre-match TV interview when asked why Tottenham have not been able to kill off games this season.
In typical Mourinho fashion, the Special One blamed his players for not following his instructions and so, presumably, he will be taking all the credit this time as they did just that.
You do have to wonder where Tottenham would be if they had not conceded late goals to Newcastle, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Wolves and Fulham.
Harry Kane also scored in Spurs' comfortable victory
(Image: Stu Forster/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
They have not been ruthless enough but the season remains open for everyone not least with Tottenham in this sort of mood – even if the Blades do tend to make it easy for opponents.
It seems a world away from last season when Sheffield United beat Tottenham 3-1 in July when Chris Wilder’s men were pushing for Europe and that felt like Mourinho’s lowest point as Spurs boss.
At least Sheffield United, buoyed by their first Premier League win of the season in midweek, showed some fight this time as they pushed Spurs and gave them a proper game at times.
But Tottenham have come a long way since those difficult days in lockdown, particularly Ndombele who did not look to have a future under Mourinho last season until his renaissance this term.
Ndombele is an outrageous talent, he looks a midfield powerhouse but is actually more about intelligence, passing and remarkable vision.
Jose Mourinho and his side got back to winning ways
(Image: Pool via REUTERS)
In fairness to Mourinho, for all the criticism of the Spurs boss not using the talent of Gareth Bale, Dele Alli or Harry Winks then maybe Ndombele is the best answer he can give. A mercurial talent back in the fold. But then when a club pays £64m and he is this good, then you have to play him.
Tottenham were terrific from the start, Heung Min Son’s pace tearing the home defence apart. Son’s fifth minute near post corner caused chaos, Serge Aurier was unmarked and headed in the opener.
It was 2-0 just before half time. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg won the ball in midfield and Kane – enjoying the season of his life – buried a brilliant low 20 yard shot into the corner beyond Ramsdale’s despairing dive.
Ramsdale has struggled badly this season, he does not give them the confidence Dean Henderson provided last season. Suddenly, they look a team of Championship players lost in the Premier League.
But credit United. They did not buckle this time. They got back into the game in the 59th minute. John Fleck’s left wing cross was flicked in by David McGoldrick’s super header.
After two victories in a row Sheffield United are back in trouble again
(Image: Pool via REUTERS)
Suddenly Tottenham looked as if they might throw away another lead. Then came Ndombele. Just 172 seconds later. The France midfielder swapped passes with Steven Bergwijn, Ndombele then, almost without looking, flicked the ball over Ramsdale and it looped into the far corner.
It was a beautiful goal. Worthy of deciding any game. And it certainly did that for Tottenham.