Tottenham blow chances as Newcastle fight back to snatch late win
Tottenham 1-2 Newcastle
Tottenham were 16 minutes away from going fourth yesterday but when the final whistle went the players were on the floor and the fans were booing.
The Newcastle players were in a gleeful huddle and their fans were even more excited. Having thought very seriously about the prospect of their sixth away league defeat of the season, Newcastle had turned the match on its head and won 2-1.
For Newcastle, this was the best moment of their campaign so far. For Spurs it was certainly the worst.
They lost this fixture 2-1 last year, taking the lead and then collapsing in the second half. After a season of steady progress this felt like a worrying step back into their fragile past.
While the circumstances of the defeat were dramatic, it was not undeserved. Spurs had control and let it slip. They did not create enough chances and were too open at the back.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino has done excellent work on their mentality, fitness and application but yesterday showed how a slight drop in standards can lead to a great unravelling.
Spurs were never at their fluent best even in the first half, which they dominated. Rob Elliot had to save twice to deny Erik Lamela, but there was no great barrage of chances. The opening goal came when Eric Dier made a sharp run to the near post to meet Christian Eriksen's corner, heading it into the far top corner of the net.
Tottenham needed to kill the game or lock it down in the second half, but they could do neither.
Steve McClaren, though, was delighted with the reaction of his Newcastle players, who fought back in a way few would have expected.
Newcastle made opportunities on the break in the second half and within seconds of coming on Mitrovic had grabbed an equaliser. The mood was transformed and Newcastle looked like scoring from every attack. And in added time a simple move was enough. Wijnaldum chipped the ball forward, Mitrovic flicked it on and Perez beat Lloris at his near post.
"After we beat Liverpool, we said that's what we are, that's what we want to be," said McClaren.
"Today, that's what we are, that's what we want to be. We want to be this every week."