Tottenham Hotspur left it late and had to battle through plenty of adversity on the opening day of the Premier League season, but they got the ‘W’ they desperately wanted.
Mauricio Pochettino, in charge of his first game as Spurs boss, hailed his sides togetherness and spirit in the 1-0 win over London rivals West Ham which came courtesy of Eric Dier’s 93rd minute strike.
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Spurs haven’t spent big over the summer and have instead brought in ex-Southampton boss Pochettino to get the best out of their talented yet previously under-performing squad.
He did just that in a fiery encounter at Upton Park on Saturday which saw Spurs play most of the match with 10-men following Kyle Naughton’s red card, but James Collins was also shown his marching orders for a second yellow card in the second half. As both teams played 10 vs. 10 The Hammers also missed a penalty kick in an eventful game, but Pochettino was pleased his side dug in and showed character to grab all three points.
“It is an important win. I will say congratulations to my players because it was a great performance,” Pochettino said. “After the penalty and the sending-off of Kyle Naughton it was difficult but we played like a team and deserved the win. The red card for Naughton was a surprise because the ball was not on target. It was a penalty but not a sending-off and it is possible the club will appeal. It was a great goal by Eric Dier. We showed that we play like a team and that is the most important thing. It was a very exciting moment for me. Our supporters were brilliant.”
Pochettino showed at Southampton last season that breeding a team first mentality is key to his philosophy as a manager. At Spurs he has players like Erik Lamela, who is trying to get the best out of and he has got off to the best possible start in charge at White Hart Lane.
This time last year Pochettino’s Saints side beat West Brom 1-0 away from home with a last-gasp goal on the opening day season. They went on to exceed everyone’s expectations and finish eighth in Pochettino’s frst full-season in charge of a PL club.
Can lightning strike twice? Can Spurs exceed their expectations under the Argentine coach this campaign?