Mason makes luck for Tottenham with progressive changes
Tottenham was not always lucky regarding the refereeing on Saturday, with interim manager Cristian Stellini particularly unlucky in the process. After some hectic play on the field that included what looked like Dunk going down tissue soft in the box to draw a foul, there was a ruckus on the sidelines.
From what NBCSports had to say and what the cameras could show, Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi had started some things, and then it spilled over with several assistants from both teams getting into each other’s faces for a lot of talking, spit and tough looks. As the commotion settled, Atwell came over and showed a red card to both De Zerbi and Stellini.
Stellini, in particular, was unlucky as he had stood there watching the foolishness, asking for calm.
Ultimately, his red was for a failure to control his staff, which was likely true, and it may have saved Spurs’ season as Ryan Mason took charge and changed the substitution pattern for the positive.
Good things happen on the attacking end when attacking players are introduced
We can return to last season and Steven Bergwijn saving Spurs against Leicester. That only happened because Antonio Conte was desperate, and Tottenham needed goals. Conte’s preference, and what we have likewise seen from Stellini, is to substitute in the back and work to ‘secure’ the points rather than win them.
On Saturday against Brighton, after Stellini was down the tunnel, Mason zigged at the point our Italian leadership would have zagged.
Bringing on Pape Matar Sarr for Skipp was nothing new, but introducing Arnaut Danjuma was
Danjuma for Dejan Kulusevski – who ran himself to death – was not necessarily a big move tactically, as it was more or less a like-for-like. Rather, bringing on an attacker, instead of Davinson Sanchez or some other defender, sent a message to the team that they could win the game, which they did only a minute later.
Danjuma’s contribution to the goal was simple enough; he ran hard at Brighton to keeper Jason Steele, making him play the ball out of the back sooner than he or the rest of his team wanted. Spurs intercepted the ball two passes later, and Hojbjerg somehow popped up down the right wing.
Kane’s strike from Hojbjerg’s cutback cross gave Tottenham the goal they desperately needed and secured three crucial points as Spurs continue to chase Newcastle and Manchester United for a spot in the top four.
Three points back with eight games to go is not a great place to be, but it is better than five points back, especially considering both Uniteds have a game in hand on Spurs. Not all wins are pretty, and sometimes you need to get lucky Spurs got a bit both against Brighton and remain in the top-four chase, thanks to Mason rolling the dice.