Alli Saves Spurs From Another Defeat To Bottom Club Watford

Tottenham Hotspur’s English midfielder Dele Alli (C) controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Watford at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on January 1, 2019. Glyn KIRK / AFP


Dele Alli struck four minutes from time to prevent Tottenham suffering another demoralising Premier League defeat, but their struggles continued in a 1-1 draw with bottom-of-the-table Watford on Saturday.

The Hornets have still not won in the league since April and will rue a series of missed chances after Abdoulaye Doucoure put them in front after just six minutes.

Spurs seemed set for a third straight defeat after humiliating heavy losses to Bayern Munich and Brighton before the international break.

But a mix-up between Ben Foster and Kiko Femenia handed Alli an equaliser to at least salvage a point for last season’s Champions League finalists.

Mauricio Pochettino insisted prior to the game that he remained sure Spurs’ quality will eventually shine through this season.

But once again the Argentine again failed to rouse a response from his side as doubts over his ability to turn the tide in his sixth season in charge grow.

Tottenham have now won just three of their first 12 games in all competitions and, just like at Brighton a fortnight ago, they paid a heavy price for a slow start.

The match had barely started before Watford were forced into a substitution when Danny Welbeck hobbled off to be replaced by Gerard Deulofeu.

And Spurs were caught napping when play got back underway as Daryl Janmaat got in behind Danny Rose and crossed for Doucoure to apply the finish.

Impotent Spurs

After his exertions in a World Cup qualifier in North Korea for South Korea in midweek, Pochettino left Son Heung-min and club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele on the bench.

But Son’s spark was badly missed from an impotent Spurs before the break.

Indeed the hosts were fortunate to be just 1-0 down at half-time as Jan Vertonghen somehow escaped conceding a penalty for bringing down Deulofeu despite a VAR review.

Son was introduced for Davinson Sanchez at the break as Pochettino switched formation and he instantly offered more pace and directness to the Spurs’ attack.

His powerful drive from a narrow angle was tipped onto the bar by Foster on 50 minutes.

But in Tottenham’s search for an equaliser they were leaving huge gaps for the visitors to exploit on the counter-attack and Quique Sanchez Flores’s men lived to regret not at least doubling their advantage.

Serge Aurier’s last-ditch challenge denied Roberto Pereyra a simple chance after a purposeful burst from Deulofeu.

Doucoure then eased through the Spurs midfield before setting up Janmaat, who miscued his shot with the goal gaping.

Just as Tottenham seemed to be running out of ideas, Watford gifted them an equaliser when Foster collided with his own defender in Femenia and spilled the ball into the path of Alli, who swept the ball into an empty net for his first goal since January.

The visitors were infuriated as VAR checked the goal for a potential handball by Alli, but not a push by Harry Kane in the build-up.

Watford did at least withstand a late flurry from Tottenham to secure a point, but they remain rooted to the foot of the table.


Spurs Must Deliver Under Pressure, Says Kane

Harry Kane


Harry Kane says Tottenham Hotspur need to start delivering when the pressure is at its most intense if they are to take the final step and become trophy winners.

Mauricio Pochettino has led Spurs towards the top of the English game, challenging for league titles and domestic cups during his spell of nearly five years at the helm, but they have so far failed to land silverware.

The club have a tendency to fall short when it really matters and Kane knows that has been holding them back.

There was more evidence of that last week as they lost back-to-back Premier League games against Burnley and Chelsea before drawing at home to Arsenal — when they had been in a position to put themselves firmly back in the title picture.

“The thing for us now, kind of like this week, when the pressure is on and we need to step up, we need to find a way to get it done,” the England captain said.

“We haven’t done that in recent years, we haven’t done that this week and that will be the difference. That is the turning point that we need to try and achieve.”

READ ALSO: Man City ‘Much Better’ Than Last Year, Says Guardiola

Pochettino said last week that Spurs’ shortcomings meant it could be another five years before they were putting serious silverware in their trophy cabinet.

Kane hopes it will not take that long, but also accepts his side have some catching up to do.

“I don’t think it’s far away but I think what the gaffer was saying was it’s not a guarantee that if you improve you are still going to win things,” Kane said.

“Every team is improving, every team is strengthening, every team is getting better year-by-year so it’s important for us that we don’t fall behind that.”

Spurs have a chance to make progress in the Champions League when they head to Borussia Dortmund for Tuesday’s last-16 second leg with a 3-0 advantage.

“It’s not going to be easy, but it’s down to us to put a performance in and we will never have a better chance to get to a quarter-final,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say we are one of the favourites to go and win it. I think we have shown in certain games, like this year and last year against Real Madrid and Barcelona, that we can beat big teams.”


Spurs Overcome Leicester To Keep Title Hopes Alive

Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s third goal against Leicester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on February 10, 2019. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP


Tottenham kept alive their bid to gate-crash the Premier League title race as Davinson Sanchez’s first goal for the club and Hugo Lloris’s penalty save inspired a 3-1 win over Leicester on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side took the lead through Sanchez’s first-half header, but they were indebted to Lloris for keeping out Jamie Vardy’s spot-kick after the interval at Wembley.

Christian Eriksen netted moments later and although Vardy got one back, Son Heung-min’s late strike ensured third-placed Tottenham clinched the fifth win in their last six league games.

The north Londoners are five points off the top of the table as they try to catch pace-setters Liverpool and Manchester City.

While Tottenham are still outsiders to win their first English title since 1961, their ability to stay in contention, despite injuries to key players Harry Kane and Dele Alli suggests they shouldn’t be completely written off.

READ ALSO: Kane Making ‘Fantastic’ Recovery, Says Spurs Boss Pochettino

This gritty success was the ideal preparation for hosting Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last 16 first leg on Wednesday.

Leicester have lost four of their last five league games, increasing the pressure on under-fire boss Claude Puel.

Puel has reportedly lost the support of several influential players, including England striker Vardy, who was left on the bench for the first 60 minutes before coming on to miss the penalty with his first touch.

With the Dortmund clash looming on Wednesday, Pochettino tweaked his team, leaving out Toby Alderweireld and Lucas Moura and recalling Fernando Llorente.

Llorente was caught napping early on when Harry Maguire evaded the Spanish striker’s marking and met James Maddison’s free-kick with a towering header that Hugo Lloris tipped over.

That chance was symptomatic of a disjointed start from Tottenham.

Leicester’s Harvey Barnes was allowed too much space in the penalty area  as he raced onto Youri Tielemans’ pass, but a poor finish wasted a gilt-edged chance.

Finally piecing together an incisive raid, Tottenham were furious when Son’s penalty appeal ended in a booking for diving after Maguire stuck out a leg to halt the South Korean.

Pochettino’s men channelled their frustration into a sustained assault on the Leicester goal.

Danny Rose’s surging run ended with a close-range effort that brought a good save from Kasper Schmeichel.

 Protests in vain 

Tottenham kept pressing and were rewarded with a well-worked 33rd-minute opener.

Trippier’s short corner found the unmarked Christian Eriksen and he whipped a pinpoint cross towards Sanchez six yards from goal.

Leicester called for offside, but their protests were in vain as Sanchez launched himself into a diving header that flashed past Schmeichel.

Replays showed the Colombia defender was just onside as he scored his first goal for Tottenham since his 2017 move from Ajax.

Demarai Gray should have done better than head Ricardo Pereira’s cross tamely at Lloris from 10 yards out soon after the interval.

Leicester’s positive start to the second half brought a golden opportunity to equalise with their 60th-minute penalty.

A rapid exchange of passes opened up a chance for Maddison, prompting Jan Vertonghen to rashly bundle over the midfielder.

Vardy had been warming up in preparation and was immediately introduced, jogging forward to take the ball from Maddison.

But Lloris came to Tottenham’s rescue, plunging to his right to keep out Vardy’s spot-kick.

Tottenham made the most of their escape as Eriksen doubled the lead three minutes later.

Llorente pounced on Pereira’s poor clearance and teed up Eriksen for a superb strike from the edge of the area for his first goal since January 1.

Vardy gave Leicester hope in the 76th minute, pouncing from close-range to convert Pereira’s cross in a typically predatory fashion.

But Son had the last word in the 90th minute as the winger raced clear to slot past Schmeichel for his 15th goal of the season.


Kane Making ‘Fantastic’ Recovery, Says Spurs Boss Pochettino

Kane Strikes But Spurs Held By Brighton
Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on April 17, 2018.


Mauricio Pochettino says Harry Kane is making a “fantastic” recovery and could be back in action ahead of schedule following the ankle injury he suffered last month against Manchester United.

Kane was initially ruled out until March, but Spurs boss Pochettino said the England captain could feature in his side’s Premier League match at Burnley on February 23.

“Now he is here, he is doing well, he is doing fantastic. You know very well we need to stop him every day because he wants to be ahead of his recovery,” Pochettino said on Friday ahead of Tottenham’s clash with Leicester on Sunday.

“He’s very optimistic and determined to play as soon as possible — it’s unbelievable but he’s doing well.

READ ALSO: Spurs ‘Happy’ With Kane’s Recovery, Says Pochettino

“If you see him he’s nearly ready to play but we need to be realistic too and of course in between all the areas to take the best decision.

“He’s so close to coming back again. Not for Sunday, not for Wednesday but we will see after.”

Pochettino, whose side are third in the Premier League, five points behind Manchester City and Liverpool, spoke of his disappointment that their clash with Leicester has been moved to Sunday for television when Spurs face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Argentine also said he felt it would be “tough” for Tottenham to move into their new stadium before the end of the season.

The club announced another delay to the grand opening earlier this week, confirming that the north London derby against Arsenal on March 2 will now take place at their temporary home of Wembley.

Spurs were originally due to move into their new 62,000-seater White Hart Lane stadium for the start of the current campaign.

The move has been put back on numerous occasions and now, with the Arsenal game confirmed as being played at Wembley, there are just five home games left.

Asked if he still expected to relocate before the end of the season, he said: “My gut feeling (is that) it will be tough but I hope and I wish to be in the new stadium.”

Pochettino also denied that he and assistant coach Jesus Perez had a secret dinner date with David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane during the week.

With Beckham and Zidane both having played for Real Madrid and Pochettino heavily linked with the managerial post at the Bernabeu, the rumour mill was sent spinning when all were photographed leaving the same London restaurant on Tuesday.

“I was with Jesus and another person. We were three and there was a table. We met by coincidence with (Beckham and Zidane) and that is all there is to it,” Pochettino said when quizzed over the incident.


Spurs ‘Happy’ With Kane’s Recovery, Says Pochettino

Kane Strikes But Spurs Held By Brighton
Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on April 17, 2018.

Tottenham Hotspur are “happy” with Harry Kane’s recovery process following an ankle injury but manager Mauricio Pochettino does not know if he will be back in action ahead of schedule.

The England captain was ruled out until early March after sustaining ligament damage in the 1-0 defeat by Manchester United on January 13, the third season in a row he has suffered such a problem.

But Kane, who has previously returned from injuries quicker than forecast, raised hopes he could be back in action soon after posting a video of himself on social media doing significant exercises on the joint.

Whether that means he will return before March remains to be seen and Pochettino was not putting a timescale on when the Spurs star would play again.

“I cannot tell you if he is ahead of schedule or not,” said Pochettino, whose side host Newcastle on Saturday.

“We assess him day-by-day. He is showing on his social media that he looks strong and very fit and very well, running and doing exercises.

“You know him very well, he is very strong and is a guy that puts 200 per cent in to be back as soon as possible.”

 ‘Going to dream’ 

Spurs, who will assess Son Heung-min after his midweek exertions on his first game back from international duty, will climb into second place and four points behind leaders Liverpool, albeit possibly temporarily if they win the lunchtime kick-off.

Pochettino, whose side failed to add to their squad for the second transfer window running, is daring to dream of overhauling Liverpool and Manchester City, though he applied his usual cautionary note.

He said: “We cannot put the excuse that we are not a real contender but we are going to try, we are going to dream because we are close, we are there in a very good position and we are going to try and fight until the end to be as high as we can.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala Joins Barcelona On Loan

The Spurs boss has performed a surprising reversal and intends to use outcast Dutch striker Vincent Janssen, who has not played for the north London club since August 2017.

Having not been listed in the club’s Premier League squad in the first half of the season, and being forced to train with the Under-23s, he was expected to leave in the January transfer window.

However, despite links to several European clubs, Janssen stayed put and now Pochettino will include him in his first-team squad.

“My decision is from today he’s going to be involved with the first team, to try to do his best, to get fit and be competitive, and he’s going to be one more in the squad and the team,” he said.


Spurs Not Changing Transfer Strategy Despite Injuries, Says Pochettino

Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino/ AFP


Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says the club will not change their transfer strategy despite potentially costly injuries to striker Harry Kane and midfielder Dele Alli but are open to making signings this month.

Both players have been ruled out until March — Kane with ankle ligament damage sustained in the recent loss to Manchester United and Alli with a hamstring strain suffered in the win at Fulham on Sunday.

Pochettino, who did not sign any players during the summer transfer window, reiterated that Spurs’ transfer policy has not altered due to the injuries but says the club are “trying”.

“It is so clear, I am so open to improve the squad and add a player if Harry Kane and Dele Alli are fit or not fit,” he said. “I was open in the summer and I am open now.

“The difficult thing is to find quality that will add to the squad. We are not going to change strategy, we are working, we will see what happens at the end.”

Asked about Alli’s injury, Pochettino said: “We need to be positive like with Harry Kane.

“We are going to miss him for a long period, it is the worst moment because we have a very busy fixture list ahead. It is a good opportunity for other players to step up.”

Midfielder Moussa Sissoko has returned to training after suffering a groin problem against Manchester United but it is unclear whether he will feature in Thursday’s League Cup semi-final second leg at Chelsea.

Forward Lucas Moura is back in full training and should be fit to feature at Stamford Bridge following a knee injury.

Midfielder Victor Wanyama, who has been out since November with a knee problem, is also back in training but is unlikely to be involved.

“Sissoko and Lucas are in contention,” Pochettino said at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday. “Wanyama we will see if it is possible for the weekend. It is very good news in the last few days.”

Spurs, who are also without Son Heung-min, on Asian Cup duty with South Korea, take a 1-0 lead to Stamford Bridge after the first leg and are bidding for their first silverware since 2008.

The club, third in the Premier League, are battling for trophies on four fronts.


Spurs Defender Aurier Released After Arrest On Suspicion Of Assault

Serge Aurier Credit: @HotspurRelated


Tottenham defender Serge Aurier was arrested on suspicion of assault after police were called to his home near London but released without charge, reports said on Wednesday.

Sky Sports News reported that the Ivory Coast international, 26, was taken into custody on Saturday and missed Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat by Manchester United at Wembley the following day.

Police issued a statement to AFP saying: “A 26-year-old man… was arrested on suspicion of ABH (actual bodily harm) and has been released with no further action.”

A Tottenham spokesman quoted by the Evening Standard newspaper said: “We are aware of an incident concerning Serge Aurier this weekend. The player was released without charge.”

The former Paris Saint-Germain player, who has played 12 times for Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side this season, received a suspended two-month prison sentence after an assault on a police officer outside a Paris nightclub in 2016.

He was also suspended by PSG for making a homophobic slur against former coach Laurent Blanc in a social media video.


United Defender Jones Expects Tough Spurs Test

Manchester United’s English defender Phil Jones (2R) talks with referee Stuart Attwell (2L) and his assistant referee (L) as Attwell consults the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after Manchester United’s Brazilian midfielder Fred put the ball in the back of the net. Oli SCARFF / AFP


Manchester United defender Phil Jones says Sunday’s clash with Tottenham will test the strength of the team’s recent revival under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United have won all five matches since Solskjaer took the helm at Old Trafford following the sacking of Jose Mourinho last month.

Spurs, who are third in the Premier League, are likely to provide the toughest challenge so far at Wembley on Sunday.

“Spurs is a good test,” said Jones. “We are in good form and have some momentum going. We have steadied the ship a bit.

“We have not done anything yet, we have not achieved anything, but we need to keep it going. Possibly Spurs will be an indicator for us and how far we can go but it is a game we need to win.

“They are in good form and doing well and we need to have a good week, train well and prepare for a tough game. Hopefully the momentum can carry us on to win that match.”

United, who will spend the week preparing at a warm-weather training camp in Dubai, are six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea after successive Premier League wins over Cardiff, Huddersfield, Bournemouth and Newcastle.

Reaching the Champions League places is a clear target but Jones does not want to look too far ahead.

The 26-year-old, who helped United see off Reading in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, said: “Of course we should be in the Champions League next season and that is the aim but we have done nothing yet. I know it is a cliche but it has to be game by game.

“I don’t really want to think about the top four, or the Champions League or the FA Cup. It has to be game by game. Tottenham is tough and we aim to see where we are after that.”


Pochettino Urges Spurs To Fight For Champions League

Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 2, 2018. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

Mauricio Pochettino challenged his Tottenham squad to fight for silverware on two fronts after seeing his team thrust themselves back into the Premier League title race with a 2-0 victory at Leicester City ahead of a Champions League trip to Barcelona in midweek.

The Tottenham manager saw his side brush the Foxes aside despite Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen, two of his most potent attacking players, playing only cameo roles off the bench.

The pair will now be fresh for Tuesday’s crucial Champions League trip to Catalonia with Spurs needing to win at the Camp Nou to guarantee progress to the last 16.

And Pochettino believes all of his players will have a role in the hectic weeks ahead.

“To show the belief you have in the squad is massive,” said Pochettino.

“There’s no point players playing every three days. It’s not healthy, they need to rest and need some time to breathe.

“For some teams it’s so difficult to manage. The most important thing is being genuine in the trust you have in the squad.

“We are showing we trust all the players. In this busy period, everybody needs to be focused.”

Victory in the East Midlands moved Tottenham back into third, just six points off the top of the Premier League, now headed by Liverpool following Manchester City’s first defeat of the season at Chelsea.

By staying in the race despite a host of injury problems and delays over moving into the club’s new stadium, Pochettino now believes his players can keep pace with the league leaders.

“The three points are massive to keep our position in the table,” he added.

“It’s a massive win for us. The reality is we are there, fighting Liverpool, City, Chelsea and Arsenal – that’s the reality.

“It was a tough place so I’m very happy with the performance. I am so pleased and it allows us to start thinking about Barcelona.”

 Son on the rise 

In the absence of Kane and Eriksen, Son Heung-min came to the fore by opening the scoring with a left-footed rocket from the edge of the penalty area before crossing for Dele Alli to head home Spurs’ second just before the hour mark.

Son’s impact in the first few months of the season was limited by his participation in the Asian Games, but the South Korean has been in fine form in recent weeks after skipping international duty last month.

“The first few months of the season I was a little bit disappointed because he travelled a lot, but after a rest and not going with the national team he was so focused on trying to improve,” added Pochettino.

“Today he improved a lot from (the) Chelsea (game) and we’re so happy with his contribution and performance and that is the player we want.”

The only blight on a bright night for Pochettino was an injury to right-back Serge Aurier that could rule the Ivorian out for the Barcelona match.

However, Pochettino is confident Spurs can produce on the biggest stage to cap a remarkable comeback after picking up just one point from their opening three Champions League games.

“It will be a massive game. They are qualified for the next stage but in the Champions League, nobody gives you a present.

“We need to win and deserve to win and the mentality has got to be 200 percent to try to win because it’s a game we must win.

“We will arrive in the best condition but in front of us will be Barcelona, one of the best teams in Europe.”


Spurs Lucky To Play At Wembley, Says Pochettino

Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino                                                             Credit: Glyn KIRK / AFP


Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said Thursday that the club are lucky to be playing their home games at Wembley even as they wait for their new stadium to be finished.

Spurs have been in the national stadium since the beginning of last season and recently committed to staying there until at least January following significant delays to their new ground.

Fans are beginning to suffer from “Wembley fatigue” and are voting with their feet, with crowd numbers dipping in recent weeks, though midweek games and capped attendances have contributed to those figures.

The state of the pitch is another factor to contend with. Spurs had to play on a poor surface 24 hours after an NFL game last week and it was still not in pristine condition for their Champions League game with PSV on Tuesday.

Pochettino, though, said the club are grateful to have Wembley as an option.

“We need to be grateful for Wembley because without Wembley now we play where?” he said.

“Of course, we cannot blame Wembley and I think we need to be grateful because we can compete in London, close to White Hart Lane, close to our training ground and that is a massive advantage for us.

“Of course, after that you feel disappointed because it’s not your home, it’s not your house.”

Tottenham’s new 62,000-seater home, which was due to be open for the start of the season and then put back to September, still has no official opening date.

Frustrations among fans are rising despite a solid start to the season but Pochettino has again urged them to see the bigger picture.

“I think for our fans, they need to start to create in their minds and think that one day more in Wembley is one day less to being in our new stadium,” he said ahead of Saturday’s away match against Crystal Palace.

“And that starts to create your motivation and inspires you to feel happy, optimistic and to translate a very good energy.

“That is the most important thing. If we’re capable of arriving and starting to play in our new stadium in a very good position, being involved in all competitions, I think our fans in our new stadium are going to be key and decisive maybe to try to win something.”


Spurs Still Alive In Champions League, Insists Kane

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (L) celebrates scoring their second goal from the penalty spot with Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min (R) during the English Premier League football match between Huddersfield Town and Tottenham Hotspur at the John Smith’s stadium in Huddersfield, northern England on September 29, 2018. Oli SCARFF / AFP


Harry Kane believes Tottenham can still make the last 16 of the Champions League after coming to his side’s rescue once more in a late turnaround to beat PSV Eindhoven 2-1 on Tuesday.

Mauricio Pochettino‘s side were only 12 minutes away from being eliminated as they struggled to recover from Luuk de Jong’s opener for PSV after 61 seconds at Wembley.

But England captain Kane came to the rescue with a predatory equaliser before heading the crucial last-gasp winner with the aid of a deflection off PSV’s Trent Sainsbury.

“We were just on the attack all the time,” said Kane. “In the end we managed to take a couple but I think we deserved it.

“We had to dig deep and find another level when it mattered. The whole season we’ve been grinding out results here and there.

“Obviously we’d like to be higher up the table in the league and doing better in the Champions League, but we’re still fighting.”

Spurs still face an uphill task to reach the knockout stage as they need to beat Inter Milan at home in their next Champions League clash and most likely Barcelona away on December 11.

“It’s another game we must win, we want to have the possibility to go to the next stage,” said Pochettino, who praised his players’ efforts after an arduous run of four games in eight days.

“The team is growing up. In these four games, three victories, we lost to Man City and I think the draw was more the fair result.

“Pleased of course, we’re always trying to improve, but with all the circumstances the team is fighting.”


Kane To The Rescue As Spurs Hit Back To Avoid Early Exit

Kane Strikes But Spurs Held By Brighton
Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane.  Photo: Glyn KIRK / AFP


Harry Kane kept alive Tottenham’s bid to reach the Champions League knockout stages as the England striker’s late double inspired a dramatic 2-1 win over PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side were only 12 minutes away from being eliminated as they struggled to recover from Luuk De Jong’s opener for PSV after 61 seconds at Wembley.

But England captain Kane came to the rescue with a predatory equaliser before heading the crucial last-gasp winner with the aid of a deflection off PSV’s Trent Sainsbury.

With two matches remaining, at home to Inter Milan on November 28 and away to Barcelona on December 11, Tottenham remain in third place in Group B.

But the north London club are now just three points behind second-placed Inter and have their fate back in their own hands.

While Tottenham are far from certain to make the last 16, they could at least allow themselves a huge sigh of relief after staving off elimination at the group stage for the second time in three seasons.

Describing Tottenham’s campaign so far as “a weird season”, Pochettino has sought solace in the political drama House of Cards recently.

But life imitated art a little too much for Pochettino’s liking as Tottenham’s defence collapsed like a house in the second minute.

There were large swathes of empty seats around Wembley as Tottenham fans showed their frustration at their team’s spluttering European form.

The stay-aways appeared to have made the right choice when PSV took their shock lead.

De Jong had frustrated Tottenham with a late equaliser in the 2-2 draw between the teams last month and once again the PSV captain improved impossible to contain as he rose above three defenders to head home from Gaston Pereiro’s corner.

It was the quickest goal Tottenham had conceded in the Champions League, but the blow sparked them into mounting a sustained period of pressure on the PSV goal.

Spurs relief

Dele Alli was back in the Tottenham line-up after missing their weekend win at Wolves through injury and the England midfielder almost made an immediate impact.

Pouncing on Davinson Sanchez’s knock down, Alli produced a back-heeled effort that was cleared off the line by Angelino.

Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane had shots deflected wide as Pochettino’s men monopolised possession.

Lucas Moura almost conjured an equaliser with a superb sprint through the heart of the PSV defence.

Moura’s initial shot was blocked by goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet before the Brazilian scuffed the rebound over the bar.

Zoet frustrated Tottenham again with a brilliant double save, keeping out Eriksen’s close-range shot, then scrambling to his feet to deny Alli from the follow-up before celebrating with a defiant fist-pump.

Alli lost another duel with Zoet soon after, this time watching in despair as the Dutch keeper pushed away his low drive.

It was the same story after the interval as Tottenham probed for a leveller, only for PSV to soak up the pressure in stoic fashion.

As the tension mounted, Pochettino’s decision to take off the lively Moura was greeted with jeers from Tottenham fans.

But Tottenham kept pressing in composed style and Kane drilled a fierce strike that Zoet repelled at his near post.

Just as time was running out, Kane finally made Tottenham’s territorial dominance pay off in the 78th minute.

His physical presence won an aerial duel and when the ball fell to Fernando Llorente, the substitute teed up Kane for a clinical low strike that flashed past Zoet for his 12th goal in 14 Champions League appearances.

Donyell Malen almost curtailed the Tottenham celebrations, but his rocket from the edge of the area was pushed away by Paulo Gazzaniga.

It was a vital contribution from Gazzaniga as Kane poached Tottenham’s 89th-minute winner, rising to head home via a deflection off Sainsbury.