Tentative steps on the road to recovery for Spurs

Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur

A welcome return to form following the week from Hell – Jose Mourinho was satisfied, although understandably, the Tottenham Hotspur support might need a little more convincing before they go overboard.

A derby defeat followed by a Europa League exit drew a stream of criticism as well as some harsh words in the dressing room. All was not well in N17 and the faithful had had enough.

But having taken stock, Tottenham offered a glimpse of their old self. Carlos Vinicius – so often overlooked by Mourinho – handed the North Londoners a first-half advantage. Harry Kane finishing the job from the spot after he’d been felled by Villa’s Matty Cash.

“I’m very happy with the result, I’m very happy with the performance, I’m very happy with the attitude,” the Lilywhites Portuguese chief enthused.

“I’m not happy with the feeling that if you did it tonight, why you didn’t do it 48 hours ago? That match on Thursday will be a scar for a long time.

“It’s not going to heal just because we won, but total credit to the players. They were a team. They fought together. They put in the game that honest, that dignity that football players should, should put in every match.”

Mourinho continued: “I think the next challenge for this team is to have a performance like this one, not as a reaction to a bad or a couple of bad results, but to have this reaction, this attitude, this collective state of soul to have these every game.

“We are going to lose matches, we are going to play bad, but to have these human qualities in every match is the next challenge for the team.”

The victory moved Tottenham into sixth place – three points off the top four. They return to Premier League action on Sunday, April 4 when they take on Newcastle United at St James Park (2:05pm).

Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings (Capt), Targett, Sanson (Barkley 66’), Luiz, McGinn, Traore (El Ghazi 60’), Watkins, Trezeguet (Davis 79’) Subs not used: Heaton, Taylor, Nakamba, Engels, El Mohamady, Ramsey

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (Capt), Tanganga, Rodon, Sanchez, Reguilon (Davies 57’), Hojbjerg, Ndombele (Sissoko 81’), Lo Celso (Bergwijn 66’), Lucas, Vinicius, Kane Subs not used: Hart, Dier, Dele, Devine, Bale, Scarlett

Referee: Mike Dean
Assistants: Darren Cann and Mark Scholes
Fourth Official: Robert Jones
VAR: Simon Hooper
Assistant VAR: Derek Eaton

Brian Jeeves

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