Michael Keane’s own goal gave Tottenham a scrappy 1-0 win over Everton to dent the Toffees’ European hopes.
From point-blank range, Keane inadvertently turned Giovani Lo Celso’s shot past Jordan Pickford after 24 minutes of a game lacking quality and intensity depsite both sides’ European qualification hopes.
Tottenham: Lloris (6), Aurier (6), Alderweireld (7), Dier (6), Davies (6), Winks (7), Lo Celso (7), Sissoko (6), Moura (6), Son (7), Kane (6).
Subs: Bergwijn (6), Lamela (n/a), Vertonghen (n/a)
Everton: Pickford (6), Coleman (6), Keane (6), Holgate (5), Digne (6), Davies (5), Gomes (5), Iwobi (5), Sigurdsson (6), Richarlison (6), Calvert-Lewin (6).
Subs: Mina (6), Gordon (6), Bernard (6), Kean (6), Sidibe (6).
Man of the match: Harry Winks
Heung-Min Son and Hugo Lloris almost came to blows at the interval with the goalkeeper unhappy with his team-mate’s work-rate in tracking a Richarlison run and shot moments earlier, and had to be kept apart by Lo Celso as they headed down the tunnel.
After half-time Son twice went close to adding to Spurs’ lead while Everton’s continued lack of tempo hampered any hopes of seriously testing Lloris and left them 10th, four points off their hosts who now occupy the final Europa League qualifying spot in eighth, after racking up Jose Mourinho’s 200th Premier League win.
Spurs get job done – but little more
A game which offered plenty with two imposing front lines on display, and both still in contention for European qualification, really struggled for tempo in the opening 20 minutes, with only Lucas Moura’s 25-yard effort coming close to offering anything meaningful.
Dele Alli missed out with a hamstring injury for Tottenham, while Toby Alderweireld made his first start since the restart as one of three changes.
Tom Davies returned for Everton to replace the benched Anthony Gordon.
It took little in the way of intensity to break the deadlock as persistence alone proved sufficient 24 minutes in, after Son’s initial shot was only half-cleared and surrounded by a sea of blue shirts, Harry Kane’s shot deflected into Lo Celso’s path, and a big touch off Keane took his effort beyond a wrong-footed Jordan Pickford.
Somehow, that did not end up as the talking point of the first half. Richarlison whistled a shot wide on the stroke of half-time after a run from deep which left Lloris furious with Son for failing to stop, and the pair almost came to blows as they headed down the tunnel at the interval.
By the start of the second period they were already pictured embracing again with any hatchets buried in the dressing room, and perhaps it inspired the South Korean, who was denied on the angle by Pickford within minutes of the restart.
He twice went close again as Spurs searched for a second goal, while also threatening to be masters of their own downfall by giving away a number of free-kicks in dangerous positions. However, only a comfortable Dominic Calvert-Lewin flick gave Lloris any work to do, as Spurs held on with ease to bounce back from last week’s defeat at Sheffield United.
What the managers said…
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho: “When you need points like we need, when the previous match was so bad and left us with negative feelings, which attract a bit of pressure, it was a solid performance against a very good team. The way we controlled the game defensively was magnificent.
On the bust-up: “It’s beautiful! It’s a consequence, probably, of our meetings. If you want to blame somebody for that, it’s me. I was critical of my boys because they are not in my opinion critical enough with themselves, I asked them to demand more from others, I asked them to put their colleagues under the pressure of the team spirit you have to give.
“It was a situation where an amazing kid, who everybody loves, Sonny, the captain thought he had to do more for the team and give a different effort. A couple of bad words, but I think it was something very important for the team to grow up, for that to happen you need to demand more of each other and be strong personalities. At half-time, I said when I saw the reaction I had no doubts they would stick together until the end.”
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti: “We competed. We could compete better, yes, we could, we lost a lot of second balls but we were in the game until the end. We could do more, but we have to keep fighting. The dream to go to Europe is still there.
“We were focused defensively, like Tottenham who didn’t have a lot of chances. It was a battle in midfield, and in the second half we created more, had more space in the middle, and had not a lot of chances but we were better in possession.”
- Tottenham boss José Mourinho has become the fifth manager to reach 200 Premier League victories, with only Sir Alex Ferguson (322) doing so in fewer games than the Portuguese (326).
- Michael Keane’s own goal was the third that Everton have scored in the Premier League this season – no side has netted more. Meanwhile, it was the fourth own-goal that Tottenham have benefited from this term, also a joint league-high.
- Tottenham are unbeaten in 15 Premier League games against Everton (W8 D7), their longest run without defeat against an opponent in the competition.
Analysis: Ancelotti has work to do
Sky Sports’ Adam Bate…
Unbeaten since the restart and having won their two previous games coming into this one, Everton had the opportunity to overtake Tottenham with a victory in London.
Instead, they struggled to impose themselves on the game and did not commit enough bodies to the attack until it was far too late. Indeed, it was not until the 81st minute that they had their first attempt from inside the penalty box.
Carlo Ancelotti has Everton going in the right direction but this was a reminder that there is some way still to go – something that Gary Neville noted on co-commentary for Sky Sports.
“The biggest job that Carlo Ancelotti has is to change the mentality,” said Neville. “You just sometimes feel that Everton start a game, they look promising, and then all of a sudden a goal goes in against them and their inferiority complex means they lose belief, particularly in big games. There is no need. They have talented players. Get on the ball. Get to the ball.
“It is a big task and it is a big club. He has just got to shift the mindset. It is almost as though the players feel they don’t belong. They don’t really believe they should beat big teams and belong in these big games. I hope the Everton players don’t get on the bus and think they were unlucky. It has not been good enough. It has been boring.”
In truth, there have been some encouraging results at Goodison Park this season. Everton have been beaten by only one of the top six on home turf. But with only one point to their name against top-half teams away from home, that’s an area that Ancelotti must address.
Tottenham next travel to Bournemouth on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 5.30pm; kick-off at 6pm.
On the same evening, Everton will host Southampton at Goodison Park; kick-off at 6pm.