Anyone who blames Mark Clattenburg for Spurs latest defeat at Manchester United is missing the point – and failing to recognise that Harry Redknapp’s men are still a long way short of challenging for the Premier League title.

Much-maligned referee Clattenburg had clearly waved play on when Heurelho Gomes had the ball in his hands. And the Spurs keeper made a classic blunder when he placed the ball on the ground and was punished by the quick-thinking Nani who slotted the ball into the empty net.

The ball was still in play. At no time did the referee blow his whistle and it was either stupid or arrogant of Gomes to carry on as if Spurs had been awarded a free kick.

Yes Nani handled the ball after he went down claiming a penalty, which United perhaps should have been awarded. And the linesman was right to flag and bring this to Clattenburg’s attention. But there is no escaping the point that Clattenburg had waved play on and Spurs would have had a numerical advantage if Gomes had hoofed the ball up field.

So well done Nani. And take responsibility Gomes for not playing to the whistle and being slow to respond to an advantage that could have led to Spurs breaking with five United players in or around the visitors’ penalty area.

Furthermore, let’s not forget Spurs failed to score in a match that United controlled from the moment Nemanja Vidic headed the decisive opening goal in the 31st minute.

Tottenham’s last win at Old Trafford remains the 1-0 victory in December 1989, when Gary Lineker struck the winner. And can anyone remember the last time Spurs beat one of the big clubs away from home?

Spurs, who stay fifth in the table but are now 10 points behind leaders Chelsea, have not kept a clean sheet in the league since the opening day of the season.

And, even more worryingly, the influential Rafael Van der Vaart limped off with a tight hamstring in the latter stages.


Goalscorers: Vidic 31 Nani 86