Christian Eriksen’s fine first half finish saw us claim maximum points at home to Southampton on Sunday afternoon.
The Dane’s well-placed effort crept into the bottom corner of Fraser Forster’s net five minutes before the break at White Hart Lane, while Hugo Lloris added another slide to his ever-increasing highlight reel to keep Victor Wanyama at bay in the second period as we kept our first Premier League clean sheet since August 24.
Mauricio Pochettino, coming up against his former club for the first time, kept faith with the starting side that secured a 1-1 draw at Arsenal last time out in the Premier League, with only goalkeeper Hugo Lloris retaining his place from Thursday’s Europa League draw with Besiktas. That meant a home top flight debut for Ryan Mason in midfield after his impressive showing at the Emirates.
Younes Kaboul’s 70-yard ball forward almost found Emmanuel Adebayor within 32 seconds as we tried our luck early on – and it was a precursor for a bright spell of early pressure.
Danny Rose went barrelling down the left wing on three minutes and won a corner off Dusan Tadic and, from Erik Lamela’s resulting flag kick, Jan Vertonghen craned a header towards the far post which was cleared off the line by Ryan Bertrand.
Lamela was involved again three minutes later as he won possession in midfield and set Nacer Chadli free, but the Belgian couldn’t quite squeeze the ball through to prowling front man Adebayor.
Our early promise was soon nullified by the Saints and in particular Graziano Pelle, who was a key figure in two Southampton attacks down the right channel. At first he charged forward after a defensive mix-up and whipped in a cross which Sadio Mane met at the back post, but Kyle Naughton was there to block. Pelle then sent Mane tearing towards the byline on 13 minutes but Naughton again sprung into action to clear at the far stick.
Morgan Schneiderlin saw his low shot inadvertently blocked by Pelle in a penalty box melee mid-way through the half before Lamela took the initiative and almost gave us the lead. He roamed forward after collecting a loose ball and clipped a delicate left-footed shot towards the bottom corner which Forster tipped low around the post for a corner.
An enforced change for us followed as Eric Dier replaced Naughton, the right-back coming off worse after a collision with Bertrand, but there was no change in our desire to test Forster with the Saints stopper again forced to dive low to his left to scoop Eriksen’s shot behind.
We took the lead on 40 minutes when Adebayor strode forward and played the ball in to the feet of Chadli, the Belgian swiftly laying off for Eriksen. He picked his spot and fired right footed inside the near post from 18 yards for his second goal of the season.
Pelle shrugged off the attentions of Etienne Capoue as the Saints sought a quick leveller, but Lloris comfortably gathered his low drive.
Two minutes before the break we almost grabbed a second when Adebayor picked up the scraps after Chadli was dispossessed and quickly sent the attacking midfielder scurrying forward. Chadli carried the ball slightly to the left before clipping beyond the sprawling Forster – only to see his effort hit the inside of the far post and roll back out into play.
A Tadic free kick a minute into first half stoppage time went through the defensive wall but was gathered by Lloris while a further set piece from Mane eight minutes into the second half – awarded after Kaboul was adjudged to have impeded the Saints man – didn’t get that far as it was blocked by a mass of bodies on the edge of the box.
Eriksen led a break forward on 61 minutes, rolling into the path of Chadli, but Bertrand kept up with the latter and forced a corner. The resulting flag kick was only half cleared, with Eriksen’s speculative ball back into the box bouncing in front of Forster and causing the stopper to parry.
Lloris was at his unbeatable best on 64 minutes, diving to his left to keep out Wanyama’s rasping shot from the edge of the box. The Frenchman must have seen it late due to the crowd of bodies looking to react to a half-clearance by Kaboul, but still he flung himself to his left to beat the ball away.
An in-swinging free-kick from Steven Davis swirled out at the back post after Capoue was harshly adjudged to have fouled Mane in the right back position while at the other end, Lamela found Adebayor in the box but, after the latter lost his footing, the Argentine quickly regained possession only to find himself frozen out by a solid Saints rearguard.
Visiting substitute Shane Long acrobatically cleared from inside his own six yard box on 78 minutes after Kaboul got on the end of Eriksen’s free kick – a touch that would be one of the last of the game for the Dane as he was replaced by Mousa Dembele with nine minutes to go.
We had a real let-off four minutes later when Nathaniel Clyne’s cross from the left curled across the face of goal but Mane missed his kick from six yards out.
Bertrand’s free kick deep into stoppage time failed to cause us any serious problems as we held on to claim victory and put an end to the Saints’ winning run.
Spurs: Lloris; Naughton (Dier, 32), Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose; Capoue, Mason; Eriksen (Dembele 81), Chadli, Lamela (Kane 90+1); Adebayor. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Fazio, Townsend, Soldado.
Southampton: Forster; Clyne, Bertrand, Fonte, Alderweireld; Wanyama (Long 76), Schneiderlin, S Davis; Tadic, Mane, Pelle. Substitutes (not used): K Davis (GK), Gardos, Cork, Mayuka, Reed, Targett.
Goal: Spurs – Eriksen 40.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Kaboul 53, Lamela 66. Southampton – Tadic 77.
Referee: Mike Jones.