Darron Gibson scored twice as Manchester United booked their place in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Tottenham.
The Republic of Ireland international put the disappointment of failing to qualify for the World Cup behind him with two fantastic first-half finishes to end Tottenham's involvement in the competition.
The midfielder fired low past Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes after 16 minutes before doubling their tally with a beautiful curled effort from 25 yards six minutes before the break.
Spurs had chances of their own with Jermain Defoe guilty of wasting a gilt-edged opportunity in the first half.
But despite being second best for much of the encounter United held on comfortably for the win.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, as promised, kept faith with the youngsters who had fallen to defeat in the Champions League just six days earlier against Besiktas and after the early exchanges it looked as if a similar result could be on the cards.
Spurs looked the more composed in possession and threatening on the attack, while United chased shadows in the rain at Old Trafford.
Defoe fired in a rasping drive from outside the area that Tomasz Kuszczak, preferred to Ben Foster, did well to save low to his right, while Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale were causing all sorts of problems for Gary Neville down the Tottenham left.
But while Spurs were unable to deliver the killer blow that their possession merited, United clinically put them to the sword.
Gibson opened the scoring after 16 minutes with a stinging low drive from outside the area that nestled in the bottom left-hand corner with Spurs keeper Gomes well beaten.
At the other end chances came and went. Defoe, the five-goal hero against Wigan in the Premier League, shot straight at United defender Ritchie De Laet from six yards after being picked out by a pin-point cross from Bale, while Robbie Keane was twice tackled by Nemanja Vidic as he looked to pull the trigger.
Park Ji-sung failed to connect with a cross from the left when he was unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box before Gibson doubled United's lead with an exquisite curler.
Gibson received the ball from Danny Welbeck 25 yards from goal before bending it into the top corner.
Spurs continued to pile on the pressure after the break as United struggled to maintain possession.
David Bentley had two chances to drag Spurs back into the game after the re-start, drawing a good save from Kuszczak with a side-footed finish after being picked out in the area by Bale before heading another cross from the Welshman wide of target.
But the Spurs threat gradually waned as United got a grip on the ball in midfield and Tottenham's hunger ebbed away.
The visitors brought on Peter Crouch in an effort to add another dimension to their play, but the striker was given little but scraps and long balls into the box to feed on.
Substitute Federico Macheda found the side netting in stoppage time with a low drive from outside the area as United ended the game in the ascendency.
Ferguson's side join Aston Villa in the semi-finals after Martin O'Neill's men beat Portsmouth 4-2 at Fratton Park.