We produced a fine comeback to take all three points against Sunderland at White Hart Lane on Saturday afternoon, recovering from going a goal down to enjoy a comfortable win.
The visitors struck first when Patrick van Aanholt scored four minutes before the interval, but we hit back immediately through Christian Eriksen, who added his second of the game on 67 minutes to put us 3-1 ahead, after Mousa Dembele had given us the lead. We wrapped up the victory 11 minutes from time when Harry Kane drilled home a penalty, getting the better of Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who had made a number of fine saves throughout his Premier League debut.
Our own team news saw three changes from the side which lost to Leicester City here three days ago, Mauricio Pochettino rotating his full-backs again with Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier coming in for Ben Davies and Kyle Walker, while Dembele returned from injury and Tom Carroll dropped to the bench. Sunderland included former Lane favourite Jermain Defoe in their line-up and he naturally received a warm welcome from the Spurs faithful.
That defeat to Leicester was a tough one to take so we were looking for a fast start and did just that. Only three minutes were on the clock when Toby Alderweireld headed Erik Lamela’s free-kick straight at Pickford before the Sunderland keeper made a superb diving save to tip Kane’s 25-yard low drive round the post.
We really should have taken the lead on nine minutes when a corner was cleared as far as Rose 20 yards out, his shot was blocked by Kane on the edge of the six yard box but it fell perfectly for Dele Alli, only for the teenager to blaze over the crossbar.
Sunderland were content to sit back, soaking up the pressure and trying to hit us on the counter but were finding it difficult to create anything of note, Jeremain Lens’ dipping volley on 26 minutes their first shot at goal.
Four minutes later, Kane again tried his luck from distance, cutting back onto his left foot to leave Wes Brown grounded, but his shot deflected off van Aanholt for a corner. And when Dembele won possession from a Sunderland corner on 35 minutes we had a five against two counter-attack. Dembele played the ball out to Lamela on the left but his shot just missed the far post.
Then came the opener and it fell to the visitors. Adam Johnson picked up the ball 30 yards out and threaded an excellent pass inside Alli in the right-back berth for van Aanholt, who burst into the area and slid under Hugo Lloris from close range.
The Black Cats were only ahead for just over a minute, however. From the kick-off, we worked the ball forwards with Eric Dier leading the attack, he found Alli who in turn passed to Eriksen. The Dane slipped the ball to Kane breaking into the area and although his shot was well saved by an advancing Pickford, the rebound came to Eriksen who rifled goalwards. Lee Cattermole, on the line, was unable to prevent it going into the back of the net and we were back level.
The half ended with us on top again, Pickford producing another very good diving save to prevent Eriksen’s 25-yard drive nestling in the bottom corner.
It was a bright start to the second half from both sides and the visitors had a chance to regain the lead seven minutes in. We had a free-kick which was cleared and Johnson surged forwards for Sunderland, feeding Defoe down the left channel, but he could only blast into the side-netting from a tight angle.
We were back on the front-foot moments later, though, Lamela providing some neat skills and a delightful dink to the far post which Alli headed back across goal but inches wide. Pickford was then called upon twice in quick succession as he denied first Kane and then Rose, but the latter save only went as far as Dembele on the edge of the area, who shifted the ball onto his left foot and sent a low drive past the Sunderland stopper and into the bottom corner with an hour on the clock.
It was 3-1 seven minutes later as Eriksen collected the ball 30 yards from goal, advanced a little and hit a right-footed shot which deflected off substitute Jan Kirchhoff – making his debut for the Black Cats – and went looping and spinning into the top corner.
That settled any nerves there might have been around the ground and Kane almost made it four shortly afterwards but was again denied by Pickford. The keeper had continually kept out our England striker but he was eventually beaten on 79 minutes from the penalty spot. Kane clipped a pass over the top for Rose who was upended by Kirchhoff as he crossed the ball and referee Mike Dean awarded the spot kick. Up stepped Kane to bury the penalty past Pickford, his 15th goal of the season in all competitions.
Billy Jones saw a 25-yard drive deflect behind for a corner at the other end, while another counter-attack broke down for us as the game entered stoppage time, but it mattered little as the win was already well in the bag.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Dembele (Carroll 80), Lamela (Onomah 73), Alli, Eriksen, Kane (Son 87). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Davies, Wimmer, Chadli.
Sunderland (4-4-2): Pickford, Jones, van Aanholt, O’Shea (c), Brown, Johnson, Lens (Watmore 76), Cattermole (Rodwell 53), M’Vila, Defoe, Graham (Kirchhoff 59). Substitutes (not used): Mannone, Coates, Fletcher, Borini.
Goals: Spurs – Eriksen 42, 67, Dembele 60, Kane 79 (pen); Sunderland – van Aanholt 41.
Yellow cards: Sunderland – Cattermole, Johnson.
Referee: Mike Dean.