`It makes you understand why Keegan called it a day'

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The Independent Online
Gerry Francis was left pulling his hair out after his side's defeat. "It was the sort of game that makes you understand why Kevin Keegan called it a day," the Spurs manager said.

Referring to the two near misses when Tottenham shots crashed against the United cross bar, Francis said: "That's 10 times we've hit the bar in the last six games and we've not scored from any of them."

After watching his Manchester United side stumble into second place in the Premiership Alex Ferguson had declared: "We were very ordinary."

United's three centre-backs of Ronny Johnsen, David May and Gary Pallister looked, according to Ferguson, "as if it was the first time they had played together".

The United manager said : "It was a good result for us but I didn't think it was a very good performance. It was very ordinary at times.

"It has been a good weekend for us so once we got 2-1 in front there was no way we were going to lose it.

"We have stumbled to second top but if I can keep Roy Keane in midfield that will help us, and when Nicky Butt returns to play with Keane that will be even better as they understand each other.

"I thought we were quite average. I felt we could score goals and had a few shots blocked but we needed someone with that little bit extra in the last third."

On their position in the table Ferguson said: "It's a good position and we are quite pleased but it's not a perfect position. There are hard days ahead.

"They are all cutting each other's throats and injuries will play their part. We have been fortunate that Keane has been out for a while so that when he comes back he is fresh and you saw that today."

Ferguson confirmed that he had made a bid for the Blackburn Rovers defender, Henning Berg, in order to try to sign the Norwegian international before Wednesday's transfer deadline, but that Rovers had rejected his offer. Goals: Solskjaer (22) 0-1; Allen (43) 1-1; Beckham (75) 1-2. Tottenham Hotspur (3-5-2): Walker; Vega (Austin, 69 min), Calderwood, Campbell; Carr (Fox, 82), Wilson, Howells, Sinton, Edinburgh; Allen, Iversen. Substitutes not used: Baardsen (gk), Nethercott, Rosenthal. Manchester United (3-5-2): Schmeichel; May, Johnsen (Casper 78), Pallister; Neville, Beckham, Keane, Scholes (Poborksy, 69), Giggs; Cantona, Solskjaer (Cole, 88). Substitutes not used: McClair, Van der Gouw. Referee: M Bodenham (Cornwall). Attendane: 33,026. Man of the match: Beckham.

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