Eriksen’s strike secures victory for Pochettino over former club Southampton
15:58 05 October 2014
Mauricio Pochettino overcame his former club Southampton as Christian Eriksen gave Tottenham their first victory in five Premier League games, a 1-0 home win taking them up to sixth place in the Premier League table.
Eriksen struck in the 40th minute and Nacer Chadli then hit the post before the interval.
Hugo Lloris had to make a typically fine save from Victor Wanyama in the second half and Sadio Mane missed a golden opportunity for the Saints six minutes from time, missing from six yards, but the Lilywhites secured their third clean sheet of the season in the league to inflict Southampton’s first league defeat since the opening day.
Pochettino named the same XI that has started the north London derby against Arsenal the previous weekend, with Ryan Mason keeping his place in central midfield and Danny Rose and Etienne Capoue overcoming knocks to take the field.
Tottenham started brightly and, when Rose bombed forward to win an early corner, Jan Vertonghen met Erik Lamela’s cross with a looping header that was headed off the line by Ryan Bertrand.
But Emmanuel Adebayor and Nacer Chadli were then guilty of giving the ball away in quick succession, allowing Graziano Pelle to escape down the right and cross for Mane, whose shot was blocked by Kyle Naughton.
The pacy Mane then got down the left and delivered a low for Bertrand, but Vertonghen was right in front of him and made the block.
Spurs were struggling to create in the final third, with their attacking players sometimes guilty of trying to do too much - but they improved before the half-hour mark and Eriksen found Lamela, who charged forward and drew a low save from Fraser Forster with a low 20-yard strike.
Tottenham suffered a setback as Naughton limped off with an ankle injury after a challenge from Bertrand, being replaced by Eric Dier, but the Lilywhites grew as a threat.
Lamela released Eriksen, whose 20-yard effort was touched around the post by Forster – but the Dane beat the Saints keeper to score the opener soon afterwards.
Adebayor attacked down the left and played the ball in to Chadli, who instantly knocked it back into Eriksen’s path, and the 22-year-old took a touch on the edge of the box before finding the bottom left corner.
It was nearly 2-0 before half-time as Adebayor played Chadli through, and the Belgian slid the ball past Forster but saw the ball hit the far post and come back out.
Dusan Tadic hit the target with a free-kick at the other end but it was a fairly comfortable save and Spurs went into the break with the lead.
There was plenty of hustle and bustle but little quality in the first 10 minutes of the second period, with the only drama coming when Mane went shoulder to shoulder with Younes Kaboul as he tried to go through on goal and being levered off the ball.
Referee Mike Jones gave a foul – which looked very harsh – and then produced a yellow card, when a foul in such a position technically merited a red.
Just before the hour-mark Tottenham broke from a corner, with Vertonghen finding Eriksen, who released Chadli, and he ran at Toby Alderweireld before jinking outside and letting loose – only for the shot to be deflected wide of the near post.
Spurs had a scare at the other end as Kaboul’s weak clearance fell to Wanyama on the edge of the box, and he hit the target, forcing Lloris into a fine save.
The home side appealed for a penalty 15 minutes from time as Adebayor was bundled over in the box, but Jones dismissed the appeal.
Tottenham had thrown away a 1-0 lead in the dying moments against Beskitas on Thursday night so the tension rose in the last 10 minutes as the Saints pushed forward.
The visitors did create one big chance to level in the 84th minute as Bertrand delivered a perfect low cross for Mane, but he miscued badly from six yards out and the ball span well wide.
Tottenham: Lloris, Naughton (Dier 32), Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose, Capoue, Mason, Lamela (Kane 89), Eriksen (Dembele 80), Chadli, Adebayor
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