Roberto Soldado made a welcome return to the scoresheet as we came from behind to beat Everton at the Lane in an enthralling contest on Sunday afternoon.
The striker scored a fine goal just seconds before half-time which proved to be the match-winner, after Christian Eriksen had earlier cancelled out Kevin Mirallas’ opener for the Toffees. And, in a tense second half, we defended superbly to make it back-to-back wins in the Premier League and climb to seventh in the table, just two points off the top four.
Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino made three changes from the side that won at Hull City seven days ago, with Vlad Chiriches, Aaron Lennon and Nabil Bentaleb coming in for Eric Dier, Erik Lamela and Mousa Dembele.
The visitors started the game the brighter of the two teams and had a couple of efforts on goal in the early stages, Mirallas hitting a rising 20-yard drive over the crossbar on seven minutes before Lukaku benefitted from a fortunate rebound inside the area but Hugo Lloris saved his eight-yard shot.
And they made the most of their early pressure by taking the lead on 15 minutes. A free-kick wide on the left was whipped in by Leighton Baines but headed away by Ryan Mason. Mirallas won the loose ball against Soldado, took a touch and hit a superb right-footed curler into the top corner from the edge of the area.
Despite the setback we slowly found our footing and certainly had the better of the latter half of the first period, boosted by a 21st-minute leveller. The outstanding Harry Kane picked the ball up 30 yards from goal, ignored the run inside the defender of Soldado and cut inside, firing goalwards from edge of the area. Tim Howard parried the ball but only as far as Eriksen who dinked a delightful finish over the goalkeeper, past the defenders sliding in and into the far corner.
Eight minutes later and we had another breakaway, Kane again leading the charge. He flicked wide to Mason whose clipped cross was headed away by Sylvain Distin as far as Kane, his attempted chip clearing the crossbar. Just moments later, it was the same again, Kane driving forwards but this time his right foot shot was easy for Howard to gather.
Soon after, Lennon found Eriksen centrally on the edge of the area and his shot was deflected just wide for a corner.
Everton were always a danger and were confident in their passing, but we were defending well as a team and restricting their shots on goal, although Seamus Coleman did test Lloris with a low drive after cutting in from the right.
At the other the end, Soldado almost got on the end of Gareth Barry’s back-header but just couldn’t control the ball, but he made no mistake on the stroke of half-time. Kane dispossessed Barry inside the Everton half, Lennon picked up the ball and slid the perfect pass for the Spanish striker, who hit right-footed across Howard and into the far corner, to give us the lead at the interval.
The second period began with Samuel Eto’o and Soldado having chances at either end but neither testing the goalkeeper, although Kane did on 53 minutes with a curling effort which Howard saved well. And Federico Fazio so nearly added a third shortly after, just failing to make a good contact from Eriksen’s low cross, while Mason drilled a 25-yard shot from the Dane’s lay-off which just cleared the crossbar.
Both sides made changes on the hour mark, Lamela coming on for the excellent Lennon while the visitors replaced Eto’o and Mirallas with Leon Osman and Aiden McGeady, and it was the visitors with the next opening when Ross Barkley threaded a neat pass inside to Coleman in on goal, but Lloris was out quickly to deny the full-back and send the ball for a corner.
Everton were enjoying the lion’s share of possession as they searched for an equaliser, Lukaku fizzing a curling drive well wide, but we were defending well and added to the midfield when Paulinho came on 10 minutes from time in place of Soldado.
Both sides had late shouts for penalties in a dramatic and tense last few minutes, Everton claiming a free-kick into the area hit the hand of Fazio, while at the other end Kane appeared to be bundled over by Mo Besic as he surged into the box – but referee Michael Oliver waved away both appeals.
And, as he blew the final whistle shortly after, it was met by huge cheers by supporters, players and coaches alike.
Spurs: Lloris, Chiriches (Dier 70), Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies, Mason, Bentaleb, Lennon (Lamela 61), Kane, Eriksen, Soldado (Paulinho 80). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Kaboul, Dembele, Chadli.
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Distin, Jagielka, Baines, Barkley, Barry, Besic, Mirallas (McGeady 61), Lukaku, Eto’o (Osman 61). Substitutes (not used): Robles, Hibbert, Atsu, Pienaar, Garbutt.
Goals: Spurs – Eriksen 21, Soldado 45+1; Everton – Mirallas 15.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Chiriches, Lamela, Davies, Bentaleb, Eriksen; Everton - Mirallas.
Referee: Michael Oliver.