Tottenham come from behind to stun Sunderland

Sunderland 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2

There's always been something endearingly Albert Square about Harry Redknapp, and the Tottenham Hotspur manager did little to disprove that theory with a post-match summation that could easily have been delivered in the Queen Vic over a quiet pint.

How many of his contemporaries would have used a term as EastEnders as "toe-rag" while discussing the spirit in the camp that is underpinning another memorable campaign at White Hart Lane? Redknapp was referring to the qualities of his captain Michael Dawson, a redoubtable Yorkshireman who is more Woolpack than Walford, whose first goal of the season cancelled out Asamoah Gyan's deft early finish.

"It's not just about having wonderful players," Redknapp insisted after a victory to extend his side's run to a single league defeat in 15 games, taking them above Chelsea into fourth place. He added: "There are a lot of good players who are toe-rags who you wouldn't have near you for all the money in the world.

"We've got plenty of great lads in our ranks like Michael, who gives you everything. He works hard, he trains hard and when he was left out, he didn't come in and say 'I can't travel', 'I've got a bad back' or something like that. He's no toe-rag or prima donna."

Few soap opera script writers could have conjured up the kind of plot twists provided by Redknapp, who after the game appeared to suggest Gareth Bale could be fit for tomorrow's meeting with Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League, only to give an interview yesterday where he effectively ruled the Welshman out.

"He's struggling, to be truthful," explained the manager. "I'd like to be able to scare Milan a bit and say he's going to be available but he's struggling to get over this back injury. The specialists don't see much of a problem that should keep him out too long. We're going to make sure he's right. He's a young lad and got a great future. We couldn't take a chance."

There was better news regarding Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, who should be fit after recovering from a calf strain. Sandro and Wilson Palcios will play in the centre of midfield as Jermaine Jenas is suspended.

Steve Bruce is at pains to insist his side are not missing Darren Bent, and the fact they have not failed to score in the four games since the England forward's acrimonious move to Aston Villa would back that up. If anything, it is Sunderland's defenders who are pining for their departed team-mate, having forgotten how to defend from set-pieces, not that it is something they spend much time on the training ground trying to rectify.

"It's something we don't really do," Bruce conceded after a first home defeat to the London club for almost a decade. He added: "We practise attacking set-pieces, but not for those against. Maybe I'll look at it."

Maybe he should. Looking is what most of his defenders, captain Titus Bramble in particular, were doing as Dawson rose unchallenged to head Niko Kranjcar's corner through Craig Gordon's grasp for a soft leveller on the stroke of half-time.

Tottenham took full advantage as Kranjcar sealed their latest comeback, making it 20 points the visitors have gathered this season from losing positions with a crisp 18-yard volley 12 minutes after the break.

Sunderland's mid-season slump threatens to arrive somewhat later this year after a fourth defeat in six games at home.



Europe watch

Two goals in four minutes from Robinho and a strike each from Clarence Seedorf and Antonio Cassano helped Milan warm-up for tomorrow's Champions League visit of Spurs with a 4-0 thrashing of Parma on Saturday. Seedorf slid into an empty net to open the scoring on eight minutes before Cassano doubled the lead with a volley. Robinho's second-half goals wrapped things up for the Serie A leaders.

Scorers: Sunderland Gyan 11 Tottenham Dawson 44, Kranjcar 57.

Subs: Sunderland Elmohamady 5 (Malbranque, 76), Zenden 5 (Onuoha, 85) Unused Mignolet (gk), Angeleri, Ferdinand, Riveros, Colback. Tottenham Lennon 6 (Pienaar, 78), Palacios 6 (Defoe, 88) Unused Cudicini (gk), Bassong, Khumalo, Woodgate, Crouch.

Booked: Sunderland Richardson, Muntari Tottenham Gomes, Dawson, Jenas, Pavlyuchenko.

Man of the match Kranjcar Match rating 6/10.

Possession Sunderland 52% Tottenham 48%.

Attempts on target Sunderland 10 Tottenham 5.

Referee M Jones (Chester) Att 40,986.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions