Pochettino praises ‘very professional’ win for Spurs against Crystal Palace
Son settles uneventful match against league's bottom club
05 November, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
FA Premier League
SPURS 1 (Son 61)
CRYSTAL PALACE 0
SPURS chalked up another three points this afternoon (Sunday) to keep up the pressure on their top four rivals in an uneventful victory over struggling Crystal Palace.
With Mauricio Pochettino missing Hugo Lloris, Michal Vorm was expected to start – but a training ground injury on Friday meant the second choice goalkeeper was also sidelined. Instead, summer signing Paulo Gazzaniga made his debut – and what a debut it was. The understudy’s understudy made two very good stops either side of the half time break and stood out in an otherwise anemic performance from Tottenham.
Speaking after the match, Pochettino said: “I thought he was fantastic. He was very calm and made some strong saves.”
He admitted the team failed to reach the heights of recent weeks but was happy with the result. He added: “You have to fight every day. It was difficult, we knew after Madrid it was a challenge to be ready and fresh and to compete again. It was not a great performance but the team were very professional. We had possession, we dominated, but we conceded a lot of chances. It was a game that was even, and we needed some luck to win.”
In an uneventful first half, the home side were restricted to a couple of long range efforts from Harry Winks and Christian Eriksen and some hit-and-hope crosses by the returning Danny Rose.
With Spurs huffing and puffing, there was always the danger that Palace’s pacy front men would threaten on the break. Wilfred Zaha had a great chance after an hour to score what would have been his side’s first away goal of the season. Serge Aurier, who looked uncomfortable throughout, got himself into a tangle and allowed Zaha to streak clear. The forward rounded Gazzaniga but pulled his shot wide.
Spurs went ahead in the 64th minute – just after their visitors had enjoyed their best spell. A harmless cross by Moussa Sissoko, played in weakly and aimed at no one in particular, was met with an even worse clearance by Palace centre back Luka Milivojevic. Heung-Min Son, lurking around the D, picked his spot to give Spurs the lead.
It was well taken, but Son was then guilty of bungling better chances. With eight minutes left, he broke and with just the keeper to beat could only put his shot wide. Then, two minutes later, he again found himself free but dawdled long enough to allow Palace to recover.
With Pochettino missing Dele Alli and Toby Alderweireld, there was a tangible sense the side had a Champions League hangover – and a feeling of relief at the final whistle.
SPURS: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Rose (Davies, 90), Vertonghen, Sanchez, Dier, Sissoko, Eriksen, Winks (Dembele, 45), Son, Kane (Llorente, 75)
Subs not used: Whiteman, Trippier, Nkoudou, Foyth.
CRYSTAL PALACE: Speroni, Ward (Sakho, 75), Milivojevic, Dann, Cabaye, Loftus-Cheek, Townsend, Zaha, Sakho, Schlupp, Fosu-Mensah
Subsnot used: Hennessey, Tomkins, McArthur, Souare, Puncheon, Riedewald
Attendance: 65,270 (Spurs playing home matches at Wembley)