Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur: The other lowest point of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign

Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur remains one of the other times that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer almost ran out of steam at Old Trafford.

Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur. A scoreline no one expected. (Image: Twitter)
By Shayne Dias | Oct 30, 2021 | 4 Min Read follow icon Follow Us


The 5-0 loss that Manchester United suffered against Liverpool last week brought back memories of another loss that took place last season. Of course, we are referring to Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur.

The reason this result was harked back to was down more to just the number of goals conceded. No, the other reason this result was remembered was due to the danger posed to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Norwegian, who till that point was not being questioned too much, suddenly saw doubts arise over his position. He did ride the wave of bad results out; however, many speculate that was the closest he came to being sacked.

To make matters worse, the Spurs team who inflicted the hammering was managed by Jose Mourinho. ‘The Special One’ clearly revelled in rubbing it in to his former employers on the day.

And what a day it was. Expecting a Spurs win at Old Trafford is in itself a lot. But not even the most optimistic of Tottenham fans expected such a result.

Both teams are set to clash once again this Saturday (October 30) in the Premier League. With that in mind, let’s look back at this particularly infamous encounter.

The background

The 2020-21 season got off to a delayed start, thanks to the COVID-19 disruption to the 2019-20 season. ‘Project Restart’ would commence at the time when Euro 2020 was supposed to be played.

The season would be completed, but there was a relatively short turnover into the new season – which still ended up beginning late.

As such, when these two teams met on October 4, United had only played 2 games and Spurs 3. It made for strange viewing at the time.

However, going into the game there were hopes that this would be a good one. Spurs had started the season well; United, not so much. As if to make things even weirder, at that point it was Everton who led the league standings.

Nevertheless, both teams boasted good attacks – and had the propensity to be suspect at the back. Many expected a big-scoring game; they turned out to be correct, even if they couldn’t possibly predict the way the scoreline would go.

Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur: how it happened

Few remember it now, but at the time it was United who actually scored first – and in the second minute, no less. The home side were awarded a penalty and Bruno Fernandes stepped up to take it.

The Portuguese attacking midfielder made no mistake, coolly dispatching the spot kick to give the home team the lead. It seemed like Spurs were in for a long afternoon.

However, a defensive confusion between Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw two minutes later – sound familiar? – led to Tanguy Ndombele pouncing on a loose ball inside the box and equalising. 1-1 in just 4 minutes.

It got worse three minutes later. Harry Kane was fouled by Maguire and took the free-kick quickly, playing Son Heung-Min through an unorganised United defence. The Korean winger dinked a cool finish over David de Gea. 1-2 to Spurs.

The turning point of the game, however, came when Anthony Martial was sent off. He dragged his hand across Erik Lamela’s face and was shown a straight red.

A few minutes later, Son and Kane combined once again; this time the former played a ball across the box for the English striker to slot home. 1-3 now before half-time.

Amazingly, it got worse. Serge Aurier fizzed in a low ball to Son, who finished cleverly from a tight angle. 1-4 to Spurs going into the break.

Aurier would get on the scoresheet himself in the 51st minute. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg played him in and he flashed a shot across goal from the right side of the penalty box. 1-5 to Spurs and the game was well and truly over.

But the punishment wasn’t. Paul Pogba brought down Ben Davies inside the penalty area, and Kane would convert the spot-kick. It ended Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur.

The aftermath

This was the third time United had conceded 6 goals in a Premier League match. And manager Solskjaer was not impressed with the showing.

“It’s very embarrassing, it hurt all the players. It hurts me as the manager. It’s my worst day ever.

“I’ll hold my hands up, I’m responsible for this. I’ve lost 5-0 with United and we’ve lost 6-1. We’ve lost big results before and always bounced back,” he said after the game.

Mourinho, meanwhile, praised his players for their showing. “To win 6-1 against Manchester United at Old Trafford is an honour for all of us, considering the dimension of Manchester United and Old Trafford.

“The pleasure is not the 6-1, the pleasure is the performance and three points which we really need after losing points at home against Newcastle.

“The target, objective is every match we go to win. I told the players in the last couple of days 1000 times a good result at Old Trafford is to win.

Ironically, United would go on to finish second in the table behind rivals Manchester City. Spurs, meanwhile, would finish seventh as their season crumbled later on.



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