Opening-day win at Newcastle
Newcastle 1-2 Spurs
Sat 11 August 2018, 14:38|Tottenham Hotspur
First-half goals from Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli laid the foundations for a hard-fought victory at Newcastle United in our opening game of the season on Saturday.
Belgian international defender Jan, one of five of our overall nine World Cup semi-finalists to come straight into the starting XI after a short pre-season period, converted Davinson Sanchez's flick-on from Christian Eriksen's corner to give us an eighth-minute lead with his first Premier League goal since March, 2013 - the goal decision system ruling that it had crept nine millimetres over the line.
The hosts responded quickly when Joselu got free in the box to nod into the bottom corner, but Dele headed home Serge Aurier's fine cross to make it 2-1 with 18 minutes on the watch.
Sanchez flashed a header across goal but agonisingly wide later in the first half but while we continued to fashion chances after the break, we had to dig in and were saved by Hugo Lloris and the woodwork a couple of times.
Mo Diame hit the post, Dele couldn't make the most of a close-range chance, Lloris dived to save at Kenedy's feet as he went clean through and Moussa Sissoko was denied a goal on his return to St James' Park by a superb reaction stop from Martin Dubravka to keep out the Frenchman's eight-yard effort from Ben Davies' brilliant delivery.
Sanchez's acrobatic effort flew over while Lloris made a vital low save at his near post to thwart Ayoze Perez - all inside the hour - but it took a huge effort from our players in the sunshine to keep battling as the game wore on.
Vertonghen got enough on Newcastle debutant Salomon Rondon's fierce strike to send it looping onto the bar while we brought on fresh legs in Mousa Dembele, Heung-Min Son for his 100th Premier League appearance and a top-flight debut for Luke Amos towards the end as Eric Dier ran out of steam.
Sadly, ex-Spurs full-back DeAndre Yedlin limped off with a knee injury in added time, forcing Newcastle to continue with 10 men, but we saw the game out to get the season off to a winning start.
Dele's well-taken header ensured Newcastle weren't level for too long, giving us a big boost during what was at times a frantic opening period.
Joselu's headed equaliser for the Magpies was a blow, but the response from our players was to keep imposing themselves on the game.
We took the initiative with the ball not really going anywhere in the middle, Aurier delivering an excellent raking cross from deep on the right flank that Dele met with a perfectly-timed run to get himself on the scoresheet in this fixture for the second year in a row.
Mauricio Pochettino agreed that the character shown by the players, some of whom only returned to full-time pre-season training on Monday, was key to the victory.
"Under the circumstances it was good to start the season in this way," he said. "It was a very difficult opponent and I feel very proud that the players showed great character and great commitment. The mentality was amazing."
Newcastle 1-2 Spurs
Newcastle United (4-4-1-1): Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles (c), Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Atsu 69), Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy, Joselu (Rondon 59), Perez (Muto 80). Substitutes (not used): Darlow, Ki, Schar, Manquillo.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier (Amos 88), Sissoko, Eriksen, Dele (Son 80), Lucas (Dembele 68), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Alderweireld, Walker-Peters, Llorente.
Reaction on Spurs TV
Goals: Newcastle - Joselu 11; Spurs - Vertonghen 8, Dele 18.
Yellow cards: Newcastle - Joselu 58, Diame 90+4; Spurs - Dier 42, Kane 68.
Referee: Martin Atkinson.
Venue: St James' Park, Newcastle.
Weather: Sunny, 19 degrees.