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Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 West Bromwich Albion
Second-half goals from Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son was enough to see Spurs return to winning ways and relieve some of the pressure on Jose Mourinho
Despite three-successive Premier League defeats, Spurs continue to ‘spin plates’ in a bid to end their sizable weight for honours.
But with big games on the horizon and criticism mounting, Mourinho remained focused on the task in hand.
“I want to think about West Bromwich – that’s a big game,” the Lilywhites chief explained.
“Sometimes big games are just against the top six, or the London derbies or whatever. Other times, big games can be games like this.
“It’s also a big game for West Bromwich because they need a victory, they need points, they need to survive, they need to get out of where they are.”
Having played down a swift return, Mourinho threw a surprise by naming Kane in his starting eleven – the England skipper not featuring since limping out of the Lilywhites defeat to Liverpool a fortnight ago.
Sam Johnstone expertly dealt with Son’s speculative attempt, while Eric Lamela was too high as Tottenham asked the early questions.
Kane almost made an immediate impact, firing the wrong side of an upright after Serge Aurier had scurried down the right before picking him out. Soon after, Kane again went close – this time dragging an angled attempt off target as the visitors were forced onto the back foot.
It was largely one-way traffic. Johnstone dived to his left to beat away another attempt from Kane, then somehow clawed out Aurier’s goalbound header as Tottenham continued to press.
There was almost a sting in the tail as the half concluded. Hugo Lloris brilliantly kept out Mbaye Diagne’s close-range header as Albion finally offered a threat of their own.
Johnstone stuck out his foot to thwart Son, while Lamela shot wide immediately after the restart. But when Pierre-Emile Højbjerg delightfully picked out Kane with Tottenham’s next foray forward, the Baggies stopper was left powerless while tye frontman showed Mourinho and co whet they’d been missing as he rolled the ball low into the corner of the net.
And it was swiftly 2-0. This time Son profited from Lucas Moura’s toil – Kane too involved in the move – the contest as good as over.
Diagne was denied by an assistants flag as West Brom’s lingering hopes continued to diminish – the West Midlanders latest stint in the top flight looking ever more like a short one.
Diagne’s frustrating afternoon continued – again, an off-side flag blotting out his close-range effort.
Tottenham Hotspur now turn their attention to the Emirates FA Cup where they will face Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday, February 10 (8pm). The Lilywhites return to Premier League action on Saturday 13 when they take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium (5:30pm).
Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris (Capt), Serge Aurier (Matt Doherty 69’), Toby Alderweireld, Davinson Sánchez, Ben Davies, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Tanguy Ndombele, Lucas Moura, Erik Lamela (Steven Bergwijn 74’), Heung-Min Son (Dane Scarlett 90+3’), Harry Kane Subs not used: Gareth Bale, Joe Hart (GK), Joe Rodon, Eric Dier, Moussa Sissoko, Carlos Vinicius
Booked: Eric Lamela (foul)
Goals: Harry Kane 54’, Heung-Min Son 58’
West Bromwich Albion: Sam Johnstone, Lee Peltier, Semi Ajayi, Kyle Bartley, Conor Townsend, Romaine Sawyers (Okay Yokuslu 78’), Robert Snodgrass (Matheus Pereira 80’), Conor Gallagher, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Karlan Grant (Matt Phillips 69’), Mbaye Diagne Subs not used: Darnell Furlong, Hal Robson-Kanu, Callum Robinson, Jake Livermore, David Button (GK), Dara O’Shea
Booked: Robert Snodgrass (foul), Conor Gallagher (foul)
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Assistants: Harry Lennard and Mark Scholes
Fourth Official: Lee Mason
VAR: Darren England
Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday