It was always going to be a scrap against a side fighting for their lives at the bottom of the Premier League table, so it proved and although the second half was very much one-way traffic in our favour, that one clear breakthrough eluded us.
Sunderland had their moments in the opening 45 minutes and Fabio Borini fired straight at Michel Vorm - in for the unwell Hugo Lloris - while our best chances fell to midfielder Victor Wanyama either side of the interval.
His first-half piledriver was tipped around the post by Vito Mannone before the Kenyan international angled a header just over in the second period following a great delivery from Heung-Min Son.
Moussa Sissoko and Vincent Janssen were thrown on as we pushed for a winner but the Black Cats were back in numbers and the game ended goalless.
Lloris missed the trip to Wearside through illness meaning Vorm took his place between the sticks for his third league start of the season. Mauricio Pochettino opted for a back four with Eric Dier partnering Toby Alderweireld in the heart of defence, flanked by Danny Rose and Kyle Walker. Son came into the attacking midfield trio with Harry Kane shaking off a groin problem to take over the captain’s armband for the evening.
CHANCE: DENAYER BLOCKS A GREAT OPENING – 6mins
We controlled the opening stages with patient build-up play inside the Sunderland half. It was a gift, though, that almost handed us the lead. Lamine Kone cleared straight to Kane who burst into the box and fizzed a dangerous ball across the six-yard box, only for Jason Denayer to slice it behind with Dele Alli lurking. Former Spurs man Jermain Defoe caused problems soon afterwards and won a corner, but the momentum remained in our favour.
CHANCE: BORINI FIRES STRAIGHT AT VORM – 23mins
The home side took confidence from the liveliness of Defoe and opted for a more direct approach. When one such ball fell kindly for Borini, he drove into the box and had a clear sight of goal but smashed his effort straight at a grateful Vorm.
Above: Harry Kane takes flight.
SAVE: MANNONE DENIES WANYAMA - 26mins
We responded well to Sunderland's mini spell of pressure and almost grabbed the lead in spectacular fashion on 26 minutes. The ball came to Wanyama 25 yards out and he unleashed a fierce shot that had Mannone diving to his right to tip away.
CHANCES: WALKER AND WANYAMA GO CLOSE – 64mins
We started the second half strongly and controlled the possession camped deep in the Sunderland half. As the hour mark ticked by, we started to look more dangerous in the final third and forced a succession of corners. On 63 minutes, Walker saw a driven volley deflected narrowly over the bar from a deep cross from Ben Davies - on as a first-half substitute after Danny Rose limped off - before Wanyama squandered a great chance 60 seconds later. A corner routine eventually led to Son picking up possession on the left side of the box and he looped over an inviting cross for the central midfielder, who stooped to head it at the back post, only to see his effort zip inches over as Mannone leapt up across his goal. We continued to press forward with Alderweireld playing as high up as the edge of Sunderland's box at times but Davies' volley and Dier's header from Christian Eriksen's stoppage-time corner sailed over as we tried in vain to break through the hosts' packed ranks.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO SAID
"For the performance in the first half I feel a little bit disappointed because I think we were poor, we didn't take the opportunity and with only one shot on target it's too poor to win the game. In the second half I think we played better, we created chances but it wasn't enough to win. We feel bad and disappointed because it was a great opportunity to reduce the gap with Chelsea on the top (of the table)."
Sunderland (3-5-2): Mannone; Kone, O'Shea (c), Denayer; Jones, Ndong, Rodwell, Larsson, Manquillo; Borini (Honeyman 72), Defoe. Substitutes (not used): Mika, Love, Lescott, Gooch, Pienaar, Januzaj.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Vorm; Walker, Alderweireld, Dier, Rose (Davies 38); Wanyama, Dembele (Janssen 85); Eriksen, Dele, Son (Sissoko 73); Kane (c). Substitutes (not used): Pau Lopez, Carter-Vickers, Wimmer, Winks.
Yellow cards: Sunderland – Rodwell 33, Manquillo 65.
Referee: Lee Mason.
We’re back at White Hart Lane on Saturday for the visit of Middlesbrough. Our last meeting saw us pick up a 2-1 at the Riverside back in September thanks to two first-half strikes from Son. Boro came back from behind to draw 1-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night.