Tottenham ran out 2-1 winners in a testing evening against relegation-threatened Norwich City.The home side took the lead in the first half, with Dele Alli converting from close range after fine work from Serge Aurier out wide.
However, it wasn't all plain sailing for Jose Mourinho's side, who were pegged back by a Teemu Pukki penalty early in the second period. With Norwich City looking the more likely to snatch all three points, Spurs finally burst back into life, with Giovani Lo Celso and Dele Alli combing well to tee up Son Heung-min at the back-post for a tap-in. The win, while unconvincing, takes Tottenham to within six points of the top four.
One aspect of the game that will surely please Jose Mourinho was the influence that Aurier had on the proceedings. Aurier added vital width and energy when going forward, laying on a wonderful assist for Alli to prod home. The improved form of Lo Celso, who had a hand in both goals, is also surely a positive for the gaffer.
Defensive issues continue to blight Spurs, who were again unable to successfully covert a lead into a clean sheet. Ryan Sessegnon, who looked unconvincing at left-back, was guilty of a poor challenge on Max Aarons, which led to Pukki's equalising penalty. It's hardly the defensive solidity we normally witness from Mourinho teams.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- The Portuguese boss chose to play Lo Celso from the start, which turned out to be a masterstroke. The tactics were perhaps ineffective at times, with Norwich wrestling back control of the game for a period of the second half. However, with the win delivered, and crucial attackers performing well, it's hard to grade the manager too harshly on this occasion.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Hugo Lloris, 5 -- Should have done better with Pukki's penalty, after being unable to keep the spot-kick out -- despite getting a hand on it. Hardly the return to first-team football that he would have wished for.
DF Serge Aurier, 8 -- Put in a wonderful assist for Alli's opener, in a much-improved outing from the Ivorian. More importantly, from a defensive standpoint, he was also relatively solid.
DF Jan Vertonghen, 6 -- The Belgian stopper was hooked off with an hour played after an underwhelming cameo. While not at fault for Norwich's goal, he was responsible for some questionable positioning.
DF Toby Alderweireld, 7 -- He was consistently a thorn in the side of the Norwich defence, by spraying cross-field passes with devastating accuracy. Moreover, on the occasions that he was tasked with defending, the 30-year-old stood up well for the most part.
DF Ryan Sessegnon, 5 -- The England Under-21 international struggled to influence the game as much as his full-back partner. His tough night was summed up best by a brainless tackle on Aarons that led to the equalising penalty.
MF Harry Winks, 6 -- Despite coming off in the second half, the midfielder played his part in putting Spurs ahead, by recycling possession well, and breaking up Norwich attacks.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, 8 -- An excellent display from the Argentine -- perhaps his best in a Tottenham shirt to date. The midfielder was involved in both goals, playing incisive passes to the delight of the home faithful.
MF Dele Alli, 8 -- Another fine display from Alli, who continues to thrive under the tutelage of Mourinho. Part of the reason for this appears to be the freedom he now enjoys on the field -- as his opening goal, and role in the late winner exemplified.
FW Erik Lamela, 6 -- A fairly quiet evening from the winger, who was lively, but ultimately unable to influence the game a great deal. Was replaced late on.
FW Lucas Moura, 7 -- The Brazilian winger hasn't quite hit the heights of last season, but today's performance was certainly a step in the right direction.
FW Son Heung-min, 7 -- The South Korean star deputised well for Harry Kane by scoring a typical poacher's goal to seal the win. However, up until that point, the forward struggled at times to stamp his authority on the match.
MF Eric Dier, 6 -- Moved into the centre back position late on, which did little to sure up the Spurs backline.
MF Christian Eriksen, 5 -- Contributed very little amidst rumours of his impending exit.
MF Gedson Fernandes, N/R -- The new arrival made his home debut and was on the pitch for Spurs' winners.