There are positives and negatives to be taken from every game and Andre Villas-Boas will be looking for positives to encourage his players while trying to find ways to improve on those points which caused concern against Southampton.
At this time of the season, the result is all important. Tottenham didn’t play particularly well but they got the win over Southampton and took the three points which keeps their objective for the season on track. Southampton will feel disappointment that they took nothing from a match in which they played so well with other results dragging them back towards the relegation zone.
- For Tottenham it was crucially important that they took three points from this game. It maintains their position of control over their own destiny knowing that if they win their game in hand and take maximum points from their final two matches they will finish in the top 4, at least, and secure their Champions League place for next season.
- Having struggled to get any great momentum to their game for seventy plus minutes, the Tottenham players kept going, aware of the urgency of the situation and the need for a win. With five minutes to play they eventually got the breakthrough.
- Gareth Bale after another quiet afternoon where he was well marshalled by the Southampton defence, showed that he could still produce that moment of magic to create the space he needed for another special goal in a season of exceptional strikes – his 20th League goal of the season.
- Tottenham kept their first clean sheet in the League since the single goal win at West Bromwich Albion in early February. Hugo Lloris made an equally important contribution to the win with saves as the visitors threatened. He was quick to come for the ball and took high crosses well to relieve the pressure on the Spurs defence.
- The introduction of Emmanuel Adebayot did influence the game. He put himself about and unsettled the central defenders in the final thirty minutes.
- Tottenham showed that they have learned from the recent bad experiences of conceding goals from corners and had two players on the posts where previously they had none.
- Having scored the late goal, Spurs managed to concentrate and stay focused in order to negotiate the final minutes comfortably without conceding a quick goal as happened at Wigan last weekend after taking an early lead.
- There was a fantastic atmosphere inside White Hart Lane with supporters fully behind the team and urging them on to greater effort.
- Tottenham started slowly and never had any control in the game until late on.
- Spurs were sluggish and ineffective and were unable to match Southampton’s high energy performance which allowed the visitors to dictate the pace of the game.
- For such an important game with so much at stake for both teams, like Wigan in the second half last week, Southampton’s desire for the points appeared to be greater than Tottenham’s.
- Tottenham were never able to play their passing game. Defenders weren’t given the time to play from the back and resorted to clearing it long which just played into Southampton’s hands.
- Few opportunities were created in the game with Aaron Lennon having little involvement and while Jermain Defoe did a lot of running up front there were few opportunities for him to get a strike at goal.
Tottenham manager, Andre Villas-Boas expressed his pleasure with the win. In a post-match interview with the BBC he said,
“It was very important…..In the first half, Southampton had the better chances, but we managed to hold on to 0-0 and then in the second half we improved…..But we waited, had patience and then managed to score. We have been getting late goals recently and that has been decisive for us….”
Mauricio Pochettino the Southampton manager expressed his disappointment with the result but praised his players for their effort and play.
“We deserved a lot more, we should have got at least a draw – a win would have been well deserved but we go home with nothing. I am disappointed about the result. We have competed very well and played very well, we have controlled the game for large periods…”
A Point to Ponder
Tottenham came through a difficult game and took the points which is the important thing. With the delayed kick-off, will that win count as Tottenham’s first League win at White Hart Lane with a 3pm kick-off on a Saturday since December, 2011 against Bolton?
Over to You!
What was your assessment of the game?