Andre Villas-Boas relieved as Tottenham finally end their home drought with victory over QPR

Tottenham 2 Queens Park Rangers 1

White Hart Lane

September is too early for crises, but no-one can doubt the importance of Andre Villas-Boas’ rescuing act yesterday.

Tottenham were jeered off at half-time, desperately inferior to Queens Park Rangers and fortunate to be losing only 1-0. But they turned it around, thanks to an own-goal and a Jermain Defoe finish within two second-half minutes.

“Sometimes on a game like this emotion is decisive,” said Villas-Boas afterwards. “We really wanted to get this home win for quite some time. We want to repay the fans with trust, they have to trust us with the work we are doing. Everyone felt emotional at the end.”

During the interval, though, it felt as if the bond between supporters and manager might be fraying already. At White Hart Lane Spurs had drawn with West Bromwich Albion, Norwich City and Lazio, scoring just twice. Expectations might not have been too high. But no-one would have anticipated this, the worst half of football Tottenham should play this season, and in one of their apparently easier fixtures.

“You almost could find the anxiety a little bit in the first half when we went 0-1 down, mainly from the stadium’s emotions,” a relieved Villas-Boas admitted. “But in the second half as soon as the team responded, the stadium responded and gave a boost to the team.”

The first half was a midfield education. Faurlin and Esteban Granero were masterful. This was only their third game together but some relationships are formed at first sight and this is one of them. Blessed with similar awareness, touch and style they clearly trust each other with the ball. Spurs’ midfield, containing Gylfi Sigurdsson, Clint Dempsey and Mousa Dembele for the first time, looked like a set of strangers.

For all the players Tony Fernandes has bought, Faurlin remains QPR’s most accomplished. He directed the first half, playing deft through balls to Zamora and Junior Hoillet up front. The first of these forced Brad Friedel to save brilliantly from Hoilett’s volley.

“In the first half we dominated proceedings,” said Hughes. “Granero and Faurlin completely dominated the Spurs midfield. The manner of their interplay, not only with their team-mates but with themselves, keeping the ball, understanding of what was required in that midfield area, was excellent.”

All the chances were at the same end, and it was no surprise when the goal followed. Faurlin, on the edge of the box, shuffled past Dembele with his right foot and slid a perfect pass to Zamora with his left. The former Tottenham striker stabbed it over Friedel for a deserved lead.

The Spurs fans made their opinions clear. The onus was on Villas-Boas to make a change, and he did. Sigurdsson came off for Steven Caulker, with Jan Vertonghen moving to left-back and Gareth Bale to the left wing – the  combination they had been looking for.

Villas-Boas is often accused of textbook management but he said simple assertion was the key. “We felt that we need to be a little bit more aggressive, show more desire and the players really understood it and became very very strong in the second half,” he said. “The desire and aggression made the difference. All credit to them for having that strength of character and showing resilience to come from negative result and turning it to a win.”

Tottenham started to pin Rangers back. Aaron Lennon ran the length of the pitch to force a corner. Bale swung it in, Caulker headed it on and Faurlin, after 59 brilliant minutes, turned his back on the ball which deflected off him and in. Momentum is a powerful force. The Spurs fans woke up from their misery and 73 seconds later they were ahead. Vertonghen, liberated to attack down the flank, bounded forward and passed to Bale, whose shot was saved onto the bar. Defoe followed it up and put it in.

Suddenly Spurs found themselves ahead and playing the football they were meant to do from the start. Dempsey had one shot go wide and another saved, while Clint Hill stopped Defoe from tapping in. Rangers left space at the back as they chased the game. Bale was put through by Lennon, and Defoe by Townsend, but neither could beat Cesar. The surprise, given the first half, was that it could have been more.

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all