Mauricio Pochettino has reflected on his side’s opening win over Newcastle United.
The Spurs boss admitted that Newcastle having had to play with 10 men for half the game ‘helped a little’ but this ignores the fact that Tottenham had looked very short of ideas on how to break Newcastle down before the one man advantage.
Arguably, the home side had had as many decent attacking situations as the visitors up until Shelvey’s stupidity, although neither side had really threatened the goal many times.
Rafa Benitez will find it ironic for Mauricio Pochettino to claim it would have been ‘fair’ if Harry Kane had scored instead of hitting the post, indicating a three goal win would have been a ‘fairer’ reflection of the game.
The United boss lost Dummett on seven minutes to injury and then Rafa wondered after the game how Harry Kane stayed on the pitch after his cowardly tackle from behind on Florian Lejeune, left the French defender having to be subbed after only 34 minutes. Kane only given a yellow when it could/should have been red.
With Rafa Benitez having to put up with the Mike Ashley nonsense before and after the match aside from even dealing with matters on the pitch, to lose two players to injury and then Shelvey to do what he did, ‘fair’ doesn’t even come close.
“We knew how they play, so narrow and deep.
“It was not easy to find the space and create chances. It’s important to improve. In a stadium that doesn’t have good memories for us, it was important to win. It was a clear red card.
“If Harry Kane had scored to make it 3-0 at the end, that would have been a bit more fair.
“It’s a massive three points for us and we change emotions here – if you remember, one year ago, a little more, we were really upset here (when losing 5-1 in May 2016).
“Well, we changed that in a very difficult stadium. It’s important to start with three points.
“It was all under control. The pitch was so dry, so to move the ball around quickly was difficult.
“We played better in the second half. It’s true the sending off helped a little but okay, we’re happy and now we move on and prepare for a massive game against Chelsea next week.”
“Today was difficult for him (Deli Alli) but he’s always able to score and change the game. He was so important this afternoon.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 0 Tottenham 2
Tottenham: Alli 61 Davies 7o (Newcastle – Shelvey sent off 48)
Possession was Tottenham 73% Newcastle 27%
Total shots were Tottenham 18 Newcastle 6
Shots on target were Tottenham 6 Newcastle 3
Corners were Tottenham 7 Newcastle 5
Referee: Andre Marriner
Elliot, Manquillo, Lejeune (Mbemba 34), Clark, Dummett (Lascelles 7), Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Atsu, Perez, Gayle (Merino 76)
Darlow, Aarons, Murphy, Mitrovic
(To read the match ratings go HERE)
(To read what Rafa Benitez said after the match go HERE)
(To read the instant Newcastle United fan/writer reaction to today’s match go HERE)
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