Manchester United moved to within two points of neighbours City with a 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford.
Wayne Rooney produced the perfect response to the morning’s tabloid stories, scoring a brilliant goal then celebrating by shadow-boxing and falling backwards to the turf.
Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick, who were both outstanding, scored the other goals as United did all the damage in the first half.
Despite the negativity surrounding Monday’s 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup, United now find themselves within touching distance of second place and only eight points off leaders Chelsea.
United produced their paciest, most fluent football of the season, aided by a timid and chaotic Tottenham performance. Spurs were very lacklustre and struggled to get Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane involved in the game. They failed to register a single shot in the first half.
Spurs drop to seventh on goal difference after Southampton claimed a 1-1 draw away to Chelsea.
PRE-MATCH: A bizarre story emerged this morning that Wayne Rooney had been knocked out by former teammate Phil Bardsley, whilst boxing in his kitchen. Can he hit Spurs with a sucker punch this afternoon?
9' - GOAL: Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham - It's Fellaini with the goal. Carrick slips in a neat pass that intersects the Spurs defence and Fellaini runs onto it, finishing calmly past Lloris.
19' - GOAL: Manchester United 2-Tottenham - Carrick goes from creator to goalscorer. Chadli fails to clear Fellaini's header from the corner and it drops invitingly for Carrick to head home against his former club.
26' - CHANCE: United are finding so much joy on the left wing. Fellaini runs down the flank, beats the offisde trap and plays a low ball across the box. Mata can't quite make contact.
30' - SUB: Early change for Spurs. Townsend is off and Moussa Dembele replaces him. That should bulk up the midfield.
34' - GOAL: Rooney delivers a knockout blow to Spurs. Bentaleb mislays a pass, the United striker picks it up and beats two defenders before slotting it past Lloris. He wheels away in celebration, throws some shadow punches then falls to the ground in jubilation.
64' - CHANCE: Blind crosses it into the box but Vertonghen sliced clearance finds Herrera. The ex-Bilbao man has time to hit a half-volley but it's into the side netting.
78' - SUB: Final Spurs change - Adebayor is on for Chadli. The travelling Spurs fans don't look too impressed by that substitution.
TALKING POINT: Is Spurs' top four challenge over? With Spurs now down in seventh and six points off the top four, their chances of finishing in the Champions League placse are looking increasingly slim. It wasn't just a bad result today but a very abject performance too and Mauricio Pochettino will need to rally his players for their game against Leicester City next weekend.
Before this result, United hadn't beaten Tottenham in their last 5 meetings at Old Trafford.
Man Utd have taken 2.2 points per game when Michael Carrick has featured this season (15 games) vs 1.6 without him. (via OptaJoe)
Spurs' first shot on target didn't come till the 89th minute.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Michael Carrick (Manchester United): A goal and an assist capped off an excellent display from Carrick. His pass to set up Fellaini for the opener was inch perfect and completely split the Spurs back line. He added a goal for himself 10 minutes later.
Manchester United: De Gea 7, Valencia 6, Jones 7, Smalling 6, Blind 7, Carrick 8, Herrera 7, Mata 7, Fellaini 8, Young 8, Rooney 8. Subs: Rafael 6, Pereira 6, Falcao 6.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris 5, Walker 4, Dier 4, Vertonghen 5, Rose 5, Bentaleb 4, Mason 4, Chadli 4, Eriksen 6, Townsend 4, Kane 5. Subs: Dembele 6, Lamela 4, Adebayor 4.