Lo Celso sinks the Blues
Spurs 1-0 Everton
Mon 06 July 2020, 22:16|Tottenham Hotspur
We made a return to winning ways in the Premier League on Monday evening as we edged a relatively uneventful game against Everton.
The two sides managed just five shots on target between them throughout the 90 minutes in a game in which possession was almost equal, but the decisive moment came in the 24th minute when we benefitted from an own goal that ultimately gave us all three points.
It came about when Giovani Lo Celso hit a shot on the turn which was heading wide until it cannoned off Everton defender Michael Keane and left Jordan Pickford stranded in the visitors’ goal. The Toffees attempted a late rally with a succession of crosses into our box, but we held firm to record our sixth clean sheet of the league season to move back up to eighth in the table.
It was also a milestone win for Jose Mourinho - his 200th in the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho made two changes from the team that lost at Sheffield United with Toby Alderweireld and Harry Winks coming in for Davinson Sanchez and Steven Bergwijn. Academy left-back Dennis Cirkin, 18, made his first appearance in a Premier League matchday squad, having previously been on the bench twice in the FA Cup this season.
It was a real slow burner of a contest, with very little goalmouth action of any note in the opening 20 minutes. All the play was happening in the middle third of the pitch, neither side able to fashion an opening or trouble the goalkeepers.
There were 21 minutes on the clock before the game saw its first effort at goal, Lucas Moura taking a pot-shot from 25 yards which fizzed past Pickford’s far post. But it was a moment which sparked a bit of life into the game, not least because we opened the scoring three minutes later. Lo Celso chested the ball back to Heung-Min Son 20 yards from goal, right of centre, Son then found Harry Kane, whose shot deflected to Lo Celso, who had moved into the area. With his back to goal, the Argentine swivelled and hit a left-foot shot which was probably going wide but it hit Keane and flew past a wrong-footed Pickford.
Just before the half-hour mark, Eric Dier sent a 25-yard free-kick a couple of inches over the bar after an excellent flowing move ended with Mason Holgate bringing down Lo Celso, while the visitors had Hugo Lloris scrambling at the other end when Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed a deep corner towards our skipper’s goal. Everton’s best chance of the half came in the final seconds of five added minutes, when Richarlison picked up possession 25 yards from goal and let fly with a low rasping drive that went just wide.
It was from a similar distance that they had the first chance of the second period too, half-time substitute Anthony Gordon forcing Lloris into a save while Son reached Alderweireld’s long raking pass ahead of defender Yerry Mina and tested Pickford with a fierce angled drive. The South Korean then went close twice more in quick succession, curling a yard wide in the 63rd minute and then cracking a left-foot shot which the Toffees keeper did well to save.
Everton’s most threatening route to goal was via a string of corners and free-kicks in dangerous positions but we were defending stoutly with Dier and Kane winning a number of headers to clear our lines, although Lloris was called into action on one occasion when Calvert-Lewin flicked goalwards with an acrobatic effort.
In the closing minutes, Gordon half-volleyed over after substitute Erik Lamela this time headed away yet another corner before the Toffees’ Moise Kean found a yard of space and drilled a low effort which Lloris gathered low down, the last chance of the game.
The moment that mattered occurred after a slow start to the game and it was as scrappy as the game itself. It was actually a well-worked move before Kane's shot deflected to Lo Celso and, although there was a huge slice of good fortune about the final outcome, it was an important goal and one that we’ll take.
"I feel very happy with the points because we needed them so much," Head Coach Jose Mourinho said afterwards. "I feel very happy with the team’s reaction after such a bad performance that we had against Sheffield United. It’s not an artistic performance, not a performance of incredible talent, incredible quality, but it’s a team performance against a very good team. It’s not easy to play after bad defeats, it’s not easy to play after bad performances. Sometimes the team is not able to react, sometimes the team stays in the sadness, sometimes stays in the frustration. I think today the boys showed how committed they were to try to finish in the best possible position for us and at least to wash our faces after the bad performance we had the other day. Everybody gave what they could give, we had a very solid performance, we were never in trouble, we were always in control. Could we have scored more goals? Yes, we could. I think we had two great chances in the second half for that but Everton is a good team, not an easy team to play against."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Spurs 1-0 Everton
Spurs (4-3-3): Lloris (c), Aurier, Dier, Alderweireld, Davies, Sissoko, Winks, Lo Celso (Vertonghen 90+2), Lucas (Lamela 82), Kane, Son (Bergwijn 78). Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Cirkin, Skipp, Ndombele, Gedson.
Everton (4-4-2): Pickford, Coleman (c) (Kean 77), Holgate (Mina 36), Keane, Digne, Iwobi (Gordon 46), Davies (Sidibe 77), Gomes, Sigurdsson (Bernard 67), Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison. Substitutes (not used): Stekelenburg, Baines, Branthwaite, Baningime.
Goal: Spurs - Keane (OG) 24.
Yellow cards: Spurs - Sissoko, Davies, Alderweireld; Everton - Holgate, Gomes.
Referee: Graham Scott.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Partly cloudy, gentle breeze, 12 degrees.