A goal in each half from strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado ensured our pre-season campaign ended in victory as we defeated FC Schalke 2-1 in our first game back at White Hart Lane for the 2014-15 season.
Adebayor struck on 29 minutes with Soldado doubling our lead after 66 minutes, while former Spur Kevin-Prince Boateng fired home the German visitors’ reply, leaving us unbeaten in five pre-season matches.
The game saw new Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino take charge of the team for the first time at the Lane and he gave a debut to new signing Eric Dier - who played the full 90 minutes - while Ben Davies made his home debut after coming on as a half-time substitute.
In front of a packed stadium and playing in our new third kit, two early offside decisions against Adebayor and Aaron Lennon prevented us from taking a swift lead, while a delightful slide rule pass from Christian Eriksen on 14 minutes found Lennon bursting through the middle. He managed to get a touch on the ball but Schalke keeper Ralf Fahrmann was quick off his line to thwart the danger.
A last-ditch tackle from Kaan Ayhan denied Adebayor five minutes later, after the Togo striker had controlled Younes Kaboul’s ball over the top, while at the other end Kaboul was on defensive duty to block Max Meyer’s cross-shot for a corner and then clear the danger from the resulting set-piece.
On 22 minutes, Kyle Naughton found Eriksen down the right, his low cross was cleared as far as Erik Lamela but his effort was blocked and from the corner, Nabil Bentaleb volleyed well wide. Five minutes later it was Eriksen again with the delivery from the right flank, this time finding former Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby who fired goalwards but Fahrmann did well to parry his shot.
But we weren’t to be denied much longer…and on 29 minutes we broke the deadlock. Lamela picked up the loose ball 25 yards out, slipped it in to Lennon who in turn found Holtby down the inside left channel. He delivered a low centre which Adebayor had time to control and pick his spot, drilling past Fahrmann into the net.
It was no more than we deserved as the German visitors threatened little, although they did have a couple of chances late in the half. First, Roman Neustadter flicked a header just wide from Tranquillo Barnetta’s free-kick wide on the right, while Kevin Prince-Boateng – back on his old stomping ground – saw a shot deflected wide from the edge of the area.
There was a flurry of changes at half-time, but we were straight on the front foot again just a minute into the second period when two of our substitutions combined, Roberto Soldado threading a pass inside Felipe Santana for Harry Kane, but the Schalke defender did well to block Kane’s shot.
And our Spanish striker was almost on the scoresheet himself on 53 minutes, firing Andros Townsend’s cross well wide after the winger was released down the left by Holtby’s pass.
Two minutes later Townsend tested Fahrmann from 25 yards but the keeper was equal to his low drive and the same player should have done better shortly after, curling wide after Eriksen’s superb pass inside the full-back.
Schalke carved out a couple of opportunities just after the hour mark, both falling to their Cameroon striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who failed to hit the target with his first shot before bringing a first save of the afternoon out of Hugo Lloris with a header shortly after.
But just a minute later we doubled our advantage. Townsend drilled in a fierce left-foot curling drive which Fahrmann saved, but sent the ball straight onto the head of Soldado who instinctively nodded the ball up and over the keeper and it looped into the net.
The visitors should have pulled one back on 71 minutes when Boateng cleverly found Christian Clemens inside the area down the right, he squared the ball to Meyer unmarked in front of goal, but he dragged his effort wide.
Substitute Sandro then brought another fine save out of Fahrmann with a 30-yard right-footed effort, before Schalke did indeed reduce the deficit on 79 minutes, when Dennis Aogo’s cross from the left was swept home first time by Boateng. And it needed a superb diving save from Lloris two minutes later to keep us in front as he denied Donis Avdijaj’s 20-yard effort.
At the other end, Fahrmann did likewise, producing a fine stop to keep out Cristian Ceballos’s curling shot after excellent work from Townsend and Soldado to create the chance. The German stopper then denied Townsend in stoppage time, with Ceballos lifting the rebound over the keeper but also over the bar.
Spurs: Lloris, Naughton, Kaboul (Fryers 79), Dier, Rose (Davies 46), Holtby (Ceballos 84), Bentaleb (Carroll 74), Lennon (Townsend 46), Eriksen (Sandro 67), Lamela (Kane 46), Adebayor (Soldado 46). Substitutes (not used): Friedel, Veljkovic, Fredericks.
Schalke: Fahrmann, Ayhan, Santana, Matip (Hoger 46), Kolasinac (Fuchs 46), Neustadter, Aogo, Barnetta (Clemens 62), Boateng (Avdijaj 81), Meyer, Choupo-Moting (Sobottka 80). Substitutes (not used): Schipmann, Friedrich, Borgmann, Multhaup.
Goals: Spurs - Adebayor (29), Soldado (66); Schalke – Boateng (80).
Yellows: Schalke - Ayhan.
Referee: Andrew Taylor.