A Michael Keane own goal was enough to give Tottenham Hotspur a scrappy 1-0 win over Everton at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium in London, England.
With European qualification on the line, both teams came into the encounter with two imposing front lines looking to take all 3 points.
A game which offered plenty struggled for tempo in the opening 20 minutes, with only Lucas Moura’s 25-yard effort coming close to offering anything meaningful.
The deadlock was broken the 24th minute after Heung-Min Son’s initial shot was only half-cleared and surrounded by a sea of blue shirts, Harry Kane’s shot deflected into Lo Celso’s path, and a big touch off Keane took his effort beyond a Jordan Pickford.
However, the own goal did not end up as the talking point of the first half. Richarlison had a shot off target just before half-time whistle after a run from deep, which left Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris furious with Son for failing to track Richardson’s run.
Son and Lloris almost came to blows at the interval and had to be kept apart by Lo Celso, as they headed down the tunnel.
By the start of the second period they were already pictured embracing again with any hatchets buried in the dressing room.
Perhaps it inspired the South Korean, who was denied a chance by Pickford within minutes of the restart. Son also went close to adding to Tottenham’s lead a few moments later, but couldn’t convert his chance.
Both teams created few chances in the second half and the final whistle was blown. It was Jose Mourinho’s 200th Premier League win and the Tottenham boss was delighted.
“When you need points like we need, when the previous match was so bad and left us with negative feelings, which attract a bit of pressure, it was a solid performance against a very good team,” Mourinho said.
“The way we controlled the game defensively was magnificent.”
Jose Mourinho on the bust-up between Heung-Min Son and Hugo Lloris:
“It’s beautiful! It’s a consequence, probably, of our meetings. If you want to blame somebody for that, it’s me. I was critical of my boys because they are not in my opinion critical enough with themselves,” Mourinho added.
“I asked them to demand more from others, I asked them to put their colleagues under the pressure of the team spirit you have to give. It was a situation where an amazing kid, who everybody loves, Sonny, the captain thought he had to do more for the team and give a different effort.”
“A couple of bad words, but I think it was something very important for the team to grow up, for that to happen you need to demand more of each other and be strong personalities.”
“At half-time, I said when I saw the reaction I had no doubts they would stick together until the end,” Mourinho said.
The results leaves Tottenham 8th on the table with 48 points occupying the final Europa League qualifying spot, while Everton 11th on 44 points.
Tottenham will travel to Bournemouth on Thursday, while Everton will host Southampton at Goodison Park on the same evening.