Ah, home, sweet home. It has felt like a long three weeks for Tottenham since they last played a League game at White Hart Lane. That was, of course, when they beat Chelsea. Since then their travels have taken in defeat at Reading and a draw at Blackburn. In Europe they have no such problems but Premiership away days have brought the blues for the men in white, so this deserved win reminded Martin Jol's side of where they feel happiest.
For the second week in a row they were forced to come from behind but this time they did not have to rely on a penalty to level matters. Goals from open play have been hard to come by for Spurs but here Jermain Defoe and Dimitar Berbatov, within a minute, proved they have become more than masters of the spot-kick.
Not that Wigan were the obvious fall guys for a home win to restore their confidence, something Jol pointed out. "They are not the team you want to play after you have been in the Uefa Cup," the Tottenham manager said with good reason.
The visitors' last five games before yesterday had produced four wins and a draw. The opening period only saw Henri Camara vaguely test Paul Robinson. His next attempt was more successful.
With 25 minutes gone, David Wright drifted a cross to the far post, finding the head of Lee McCulloch, who outjumped his former team-mate Pascal Chimbonda. From the ensuing knockdown, Camara was lurking unmarked by the penalty spot and, with time on his side, he thumped his shot past Robinson.
Jol had rested Robbie Keane and brought Defoe back into the side but retained Berbatov after his winning goal last Thursday against Bayer Leverkusen in the Uefa Cup. The way they started this encounter, the he could have picked twice as many forwards and still seen nothing happen.
Yet Camara's goal, his fifth of the season, at least provoked a reaction from the hosts. Steed Malbranque shimmied his way into the penalty box and drew a good save from Chris Kirkland. The England international then did even better, using his long body to block Defoe's effort from the rebound.
It did not seem to mean much at the time but Wigan then lost Shaun Teale, their right-sided midfielder. The left-footed Kevin Kilbane was required to step in for him and gave little protection to Wright at right-back. When Spurs scored twice in a minute from attacks stemming from that flank, Teale's absence was shown to be crucial, something Paul Jewell, the Wigan manager, acknowledged later.
With a minute to go before half-time, Spurs had their equaliser. Berbatov slipped a pass to Defoe, who spun past Emmerson Boyce and found the gap between Kirkland and his near post. It was Defoe's first League goal in open play this season and his 50th in the Premiership.
However, from having been on the fringes of the action, Berbatov then took centre stage. In Spurs' very next attack, the Bulgarian nutmegged Matt Jackson before curling his shot into the top corner. A defence, admittedly reorganised due to injuries, that had only conceded two goals in their last five games, had suddenly conceded two inside a minute. "That was disappointing," Jewell said.
Berbatov raced down the left in the last minute before setting up Aaron Lennon for the third. But Spurs have not got long to rest on their laurels. Their next game? Away, at Arsenal.
Goals: Camara (25) 0-1; Defoe (43) 1-1; Berbatov (44) 2-1; Lennon (90) 3-1.
Tottenham Hotspur: (4-4-2) Robinson; Chimbonda, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Huddlestone, Zokora, Malbranque; Berbatov, Defoe (Keane, 83). Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Lee, Davids, Murphy
Wigan Athletic (4-4-2): Kirkland; Wright (Hall, 67), Boyce, Jackson, Baines; Teale (Heskey, 29), Skoko, Scharner, Kilbane (Cotterill, 78); Camara, McCulloch. Substitutes not used: Pollitt (gk), Landzaat.
Referee: M Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).
Booked: Wigan Boyce, Baines.
Man of the match: Berbatov
Attendance: 35,205.Reuse content