Maurcio Pochettino says he will shoulder the “blame” for Hugo Lloris’ howler in 10-man Tottenham’s 2-1 Premier League win over Southampton.
The France goalkeeper – and 2018 World Cup winner – was inexplicably dispossessed inside his own six-yard area by Danny Ings for Saints’ equaliser following a back pass.
“You don’t need to blame Hugo, blame me because I demand him to play in that way,” Pochetteino said.
“I don’t want anyone to blame him; in this action I want the blame because I demand him to do what he was doing.”
After a week where they had lost to Leicester before being beaten by League Two Colchester in the Carabao Cup, Spurs’ spirits were lifted as £53.8m club record signing Tanguy Ndombele scored with a powerful deflected finish.
Serge Aurier, who had already been booked, was sent off in the 32nd minute for a foul on Ryan Bertrand after Spurs felt the ball had gone out of play just before.
But within five minutes of Ings’ leveller, Harry Kane swept home what proved to be the winner after an assist by Christian Eriksen.
“He [Lloris] is so strong mentally,” Pochettino added. “and of course showed that he wasn’t affected by this situation.”
Spurs captain Lloris went someway to redeeming himself for his howler with two excellent second-half saves.
He flung himself across his line to keep out James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick before producing an acrobatic leap to block Maya Yoshida’s header following a corner.
Relief for Spurs – but problems still exist
Having made a slow start to the season, this was a welcome victory for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who had started the day closer to the bottom three than the top two.
After dropping 10 points from their previous six matches, they will be relieved to have returned to winning ways even if it was a far from convincing performance.
Lloris had been forced to save from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before France midfielder Ndombele lashed home his second goal since joining from Lyon in July.
Spurs’ season has been anything but straightforward and, having developed a nasty habit of throwing away leads, they once again gifted their opponents a way back at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Aurier’s needless lunge on Bertrand as the Southampton player charged forward, resulting in a second yellow card for the Ivory Coast defender, lifted Southampton’s hopes – and eight minutes later they were level.
Lloris, back in the side after missing the Leicester defeat to be with his wife as she gave birth, was embarrassed after losing possession inside his own six-yard area to Ings, who then managed to bundle the ball over the line.
Yet Tottenham managed to get themselves back in front, Kane finishing from 12 yards after a sweeping move involving the impressive Son Heung-min and Eriksen, whose pass allowed the England striker to score his 10th goal of the season for club and country.
Eriksen keeps cool to inspire Spurs
This was a big day for Eriksen, who started September by being linked with a move away from Tottenham before the European transfer deadline.
He ended it by marking his recall to Pochettino’s Premier League starting line-up with a busy performance which he capped by providing the assist for the winning goal.
With his contract set to expire next summer, the Denmark midfielder continues to be linked with a move away after six years at the club.
Yet while Aurier was sent off and Lloris committed a horrible mistake, Eriksen kept a cool head as he played a significant part in helping put Tottenham’s season back on track.
With the game goalless, his free-kick took a deflection and resulted in a chance for Kane, who slipped as he attempted to volley home from close range.
Saints fail to capitalise after Aurier dismissal
Southampton have found playing away from home a much more comfortable experience than performing at St Mary’s this season.
They arrived in north London seeking a fifth straight league and cup away win – and for spells they looked like they might extend that run.
Despite losing Portugal defender Cedric Soares in the warm-up, which resulted in Jannik Vestergaard being promoted from the substitutes bench, they took the game to Spurs.
Without £15m striker Che Adams and Mali winger Moussa Djenepo, who had scored in the previous two league away wins, Southampton relied on Nathan Redmond’s pace to cause problems.
He teed-up a chance for Hojbjerg, who tested Lloris, before Ndombele scored – the first goal Southampton had conceded on their travels for more than six hours.
Aurier’s red card and Lloris’ howler saw the momentum swing in Southampton’s direction yet, after Kane had restored Tottenham’s lead, the visitors found themselves frustrated by the goalkeeper’s fine performance in the second half.
Man of the match – Son Heung-min (Tottenham)
What they said
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino: “We needed to work a lot with 10 men. We showed our spirit, that is the way we need to work to work together.
“We have worked very hard for five years to put the club in the level that no-one expected. That is why now for some results that were not in the way people expected, we don’t give up, so we need to be strong to be stronger.
“I think it was completely unfair for Serge to be sent off, but I accept the decision of the referee.”
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl: “When you get the chance to come back twice and don’t take it, you must be frustrated.
“We tried to move them around, find space behind the last line. It’s tough but we had fantastic chances, Maya Yoshida’s header and shots outside the box but not enough to get Spurs struggling.
“I wasn’t happy with my subs today, it was not enough when we get weaker in the last 20 minutes instead of more pressure on the opponents. In the last 15 minutes was not enough.”
Spurs enjoy home rule over Saints – the stats
- Tottenham have won eight of their past nine Premier League home games against Southampton, losing the other in May 2016.
- Spurs won a Premier League game when having a player sent off for the first time since September 2017 against West Ham.
- Southampton had 58.8% possession against Tottenham, the most by a non ‘big six’ side in an away league game against them since Everton in November 2014 (61.4%).
- Since the start of last season, Southampton have both scored and conceded goals in 29 different Premier League games – only Arsenal (31) have done so in more.
- Tottenham striker Harry Kane scored in his sixth consecutive Premier League appearance against Southampton – only Robin van Persie against Stoke (eight), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink against West Ham (seven) and Romelu Lukaku against West Ham (7) have had longer scoring streaks against an opponent in the competition.
- Tanguy Ndombele has scored more goals in his first five Premier League appearances for Tottenham (two) than he managed in 69 Ligue 1 appearances for Amiens and Lyon combined (one).
- Serge Aurier became the first Tottenham player to be sent off in a Premier League home match since Kyle Naughton against Stoke in November 2014.
German champions Bayern Munich are in town on Tuesday as Tottenham look for their first Champions League Group B win (20:00 BST), while Southampton have a full week to prepare for Chelsea’s visit to St Mary’s on Sunday, 6 October (14:00 BST).