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United, Spurs win to keep pressure on Chelsea

Associated Press Modified: October 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm •  Published: October 7, 2012

United lost 3-0 at Newcastle last season and there were fears the hosts' stellar frontline of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse would cause havoc against a defense that has been criticized heavily in recent weeks.

Yet for all United's big names in attack — Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck also played alongside Rooney — it was its defense that guided the team to victory and only a second shutout in the league.

Evans powered home a header from Van Persie's center in the eighth minute before Evra got in front of Ba to glance in Rooney's inswinging corner.

"Unfortunately, with all talent they have on the pitch, it was set plays they scored from," Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said. "The two goals killed us."

United goalkeeper David de Gea clawed away a stooping effort from Cisse with the ball inches from crossing the line, moments after Ba headed against the crossbar, before Cleverley sealed the three points with a curling shot from the corner of the area.

At first, it appeared Cleverley meant it as a cross — and that's what United manager Alex Ferguson thought — but the England midfielder insisted he had gone for a shot.

"I meant to put it in the far corner," he said, with a cheeky grin.

The pressure was on United after seeing Chelsea and City romp to easy wins on Saturday and given it had lost 3-2 to Spurs in its last league outing. A victory was also important as teams now have two weeks off for the international break.

"We were focused today," Ferguson said. "It's not easy coming to Newcastle; they're a big, aggressive team. I'm pleased with the result and pleased with the performance."

After a slow start to the season, Tottenham is in fine form and was a deserved winner over Villa, going ahead when Caulker diverted in a shot from Jermain Defoe that was heading wide in the 58th.

Lennon then shot past Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 67th after being set up by Clint Dempsey.

"Overall a great performance," said Villas-Boas. "We told the players at halftime to persist with the intensity and we would come good."