Tottenham ends 4-match wait for Premier League win
LONDON (AP) — Mauricio Pochettino got the better of his Southampton successor Ronald Koeman as Tottenham ended its four-match wait for a Premier League win with a 1-0 victory on Sunday.
Christian Eriksen scored with a 20-yard strike in the 40th minute to deny Koeman’s side a seventh straight win in all competitions.
All eyes were on Pochettino at White Hart Lane, where he was taking on his former club for the first time since ending a successful 18-month stint at St Mary’s to lead Spurs.
The win was a timely shot in the arm for Tottenham ahead of the international break, having failed to win its last four top-flight matches and lost its previous two home league games.
Unlike recent weeks, there was no sign of a Europa League hangover as Jan Vertonghen had an early header cleared off the line, before Erik Lamela saw a shot pushed on to the post and Eriksen impressively struck from distance.
Nacer Chadli hit the post as he attempted to double Spurs’ advantage before the break, from which Tottenham returned strongly and kept the visitors at bay.
Sadio Mane’s contender for miss of the season in the closing stages was Saints’ best chance as the hosts held out for a win which will have been particularly sweet for Pochettino and his staff.
Despite having last season led the south coast side to its best-ever Premier League campaign, the sold-out travelling fans showered him with abuse from the outset in north London.
Pochettino may have been under pressure but so too was the Southampton backline, with Ryan Bertrand clearing Vertonghen’s header off the line in the fourth minute.
However, Saints soon settled and had a fine chance of their own, with only a last-ditch Kyle Naughton block preventing Mane turning in Graziano Pelle’s cross.
Mane’s cutback just evaded Steven Davis as Southampton continued to up the ante, with Spurs target Morgan Schneiderlin having a close-range effort blocked.
Lamela galloped forward and unleashed a 25-yard strike that Fraser Forster did brilliantly to tip on to the post, although the England goalkeeper was not so convincing when denying Eriksen soon after, watching helplessly as the ball crept wide after wriggling out of his grasp.
Naughton was forced off with a nasty-looking injury in between those opportunities.
Attacking down the left, Emmanuel Adebayor squared the ball to Chadli, who flicked to Eriksen and the Danish playmaker unleashed a fizzing strike from the edge of the box just out of Forster’s reach.
Spurs continued on top when play resumed for the second half, although it looked like the match would be turned on its head seven minutes after the restart.
Latching on to a through ball, Mane was barged off the ball by last-man Younes Kaboul. The Spurs skipper feared the worse when Mike Jones harshly called a foul, yet the referee only gave a yellow card.