Belfast Telegraph

Claude Puel rues Nathan Redmond's red card as Tottenham make Southampton pay

Southampton manager Claude Puel lamented the double punishment of Nathan Redmond conceding a penalty and being sent off as his side were thumped 4-1 by Tottenham.

Spurs led 2-1 in the second half when referee Mike Dean judged Redmond had deliberately denied Dele Alli a goalscoring opportunity.

Redmond had stumbled into the back of Alli as he was about to shoot and while Harry Kane blazed the spot-kick over, Tottenham made their extra man count.

Substitute Son Heung-min and Alli's second completed an emphatic win after headers from Alli and Kane had earlier cancelled out Virgil van Dijk's opener.

Mauricio Pochettino's men move one point behind Arsenal in fourth while Southampton stay eighth.

"I think it's a little hard because he didn't want to make a fault, he just touched the player," Puel said of Redmond's foul.

"It is two players trying to win the ball. It is difficult to accept because of course it changes the philosophy of the game.

"After it was finished. Against a team with this quality, good possession and great players, it was difficult for us."

New rules introduced in April state a team need not be punished twice for accidental fouls but deliberate fouls - which include holding, pulling or pushing - still incur a red card.

Redmond appeared to fall into the back of Alli but it was difficult to judge if it was deliberate.

Spurs were already in front when the penalty incident occurred and Pochettino believes his side were already on course for victory.

"It was not a key action to change the game because in that moment we dominated the game, created a lot of chances," Pochettino said.

"It was difficult to see from my position but we deserve more than Southampton. We played better, it's a very fair result."

Tottenham beat Saints 2-0 in December last year before winning eight out of their next 10 matches to emerge as Leicester's closest title rivals.

They next travel to Watford on New Year's Day before hosting league leaders Chelsea and Pochettino wants his side to emulate last season's run.

"Yes why not? It's true the Premier League is very tough now, and all the big clubs, the sides are fighting at the top," Pochettino said.

"It is a completely different Premier League this year. For us it's important, we had a very good year for us last season, 71 points, and towards the end we were still fighting for big things."

Tottenham could be without three defenders against Watford. Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker will both miss the match through suspension after each collecting their fifth yellow cards of the season.

Vertonghen may also face retrospective action after catching Jay Rodriguez in the face with his hand, although neither manager said they saw the incident.

Toby Alderweireld, meanwhile, is also struggling to be fit after missing the win over Southampton with an illness.

"We hope he will be available against Watford because today he was better," Pochettino said.

"He got a virus, was sick, vomiting, and fever in the last two days. We hope he will be okay."

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