Whatever Antonio Conte said — or threw — during his first team talk worked, as Tottenham recovered from an abhorrent first half to earn a 2-1 home victory over Leeds.
Encouraging second half
The Italian gaffer got the reaction he demanded, as Spurs were an altogether different side after the interval. Enlivened and courageous, Tottenham, through a cocktail of positive segments of play, fulfilled their manager’s expectations.
Their elevated work rate paid off immediately, as Harry Kane registered Spurs’ first shot in over four hours and a half of top-flight football. The talisman forced Illan Meslier into a smart save. That promising action was a sign of things to come. The home side created bundles of chances, one of which flying off the crossbar from a wildly deflected attempted Son Heung-min cross.
Pierre Hojberg, who endured a woeful first half, scuffed in Tottenham’s first goal in six hours and 13 minutes of Premier League action. The meaningfulness of the goal cannot be overstated, as Spurs drove on after the equalizer.
A few penalty claims were followed by Eric Dier’s free kick just outside of the box, brought on by a marauding Lucas Moura run. Dier’s set piece was deflected onto the post, but Sergio Reguilon — another player who recovered brilliantly from a deplorable first half — was first to the rebound, spearing home to give Spurs their first lead since beating Newcastle over a month ago.
Spurs registered four shots on target in the second half, a substantial improvement from the previous six shot-less stanzas.
While the overall quality of the team still leaves a lot to be desired, at least Spurs put forth a full-blooded effort in the second half, an encouraging sign for supporters who were left crestfallen by the staggeringly poor nature of the first half.