Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, praised his team's character after they salvaged a point from a game they might – however unfairly – have lost. Tottenham dominated the first hour of the match at The Hawthorns but could not find a way past West Bromwich Albion and former England goalkeeper Ben Foster, and fell behind when Nacer Chadli scored against the club that sold him in summer for £13 million. But England midfield player Dele Alli came to the rescue after 89 minutes as Tottenham refused to accept what would have been a first Premier League defeat of the season.
“We should have been more clinical but we showed character after they scored so late,” Pochettino said. “I'm pleased with the performance. Their keeper was man of the match as you saw. But when you don't score, you leave yourself open to this.”
He was pleased that his side had maintained the form that they had taken into the international break, when they won five games in all competitions. But he will be without Toby Alderweireld for Tuesday's Champions League match away to Bayer Leverkusen after the Belgium defender was stretchered off following a collision in the second half, and and possbily more matches. “We'll have to wait 24 to 48 hours,” Pochettino said. “Now his leg is very painful but we don't know.”
The Hawthorns crowd taunted the Tottenham team by reminding them that a draw at White Hart Lane between the teams late last season had helped deny Spurs the title, but Pochettino saw few parallels. “This is a different period, it's a different season and we are more mature now,” he said. “Yes, we missed a chance but it was important that we kept our level after the Man City game.”
Tottenham had a host of chances in the first half but Albion, with ten men behind the ball, managed to block most of their shots and when one or two got through, Foster was equal to everything. His best sequence of saves began after 35 minutes, when he denied Ben Davies with a save low to his left, Eriksen low to his right and Alli in between when Vincent Janssen had sent him through on goal.
Albion's only chance of the first 45 minutes came when Hugo Lloris fumbled james McClaen's angles shot but no home forward could take advantage. They were only a little more dangerous in the second half, even after Eric Dier had replaced the injured Alderweireld. So it was a surprise when Albion went ahead.
Lloris was blameless this time, pushing a shot from McClean against the post. But he could not prevent Chadli, anonymous until then, from claiming his moment of glory, smashing the rebound home. “I don’t think Chadli will get the credit he deserves, but he only had the top half to go for and he stuck it in there, it was a real quality finish,” Albion manager Tony Pulis said.
That might have floored some teams, but Tottenham found a way back. Heung-Min Son, on as a substitute, worked the ball in from the left, Eriksen's shot was charged down, and Alli pounced.
“If you look at the whole game we have Ben to thank,” Tony Pulis, the Albion manager, said. “ It’s about time he made a few saves, he’s not had a lot to do this season.”
West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom, Fletcher, Yacob, Phillips (Brunt, 69), Chadli (Gardner, 88), McClean, Rondon.
Substitutes not used: Myhill, Olsson, Robson-Kanu, Morrison, Leko.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld (Dier, 60), Vertonghen, Davies, Wanyama, Sissoko (Dembele, 65), Eriksen, Alli, Lamela (Son, 72), Janssen.
Substitutes not used: Vorm, Nkoudou, Trippier, Dembele, Onomah.
Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire)Reuse content