As five-goal Sundays go, this one was far more palatable for Tottenham. Destruction by Liverpool one week signalled the end of Andre Villas-Boas. A week later, victory by the Solent may be just the beginning for Tim Sherwood.
Chairman Daniel Levy wasn’t at St Mary’s to enjoy it, but Sherwood will be able to explain when they meet on Monday exactly how he plotted the first win of his interim control despite going behind to an early goal.
He is entitled to the credit. Spurs were not flawless, far from it, but Sherwood has restored purpose and tempo to this team and has invigorated Emmanuel Adebayor, who proved the difference, with two well taken goals.
Incredulous: Foy’s face was picture in itself
Southampton: Gazzaniga 6, Chambers 7, Hooiveld 5, Lovren 6, Fox 5 (Gallagher 78 min); Schneiderlin 6, Davis 6 (Ramirez 69, 5), Cork 6 (Ward-Prowse 63, 6); Lallana 8, Lambert 6, Rodriguez 5.
Subs: Yoshida, Fonte, Reed, Cropper.
Yellow: Ward Prowse
Goal: Lallana 13, Lambert 59
Spurs: Lloris 6; Walker 7, Dawson 7, Chiriches 6, Rose 6; Lamela 5 (Chadli 60, 7), Eriksen 6, Dembele 5 (Bentaleb 50, 7), Sigurdsson 6; Adebayor 8, Soldado 6 (Defoe 85).
Subs: Holtby, Capoue, Friedel, Fredericks.
Goal: Adebayor 25, 64, Hooiveld (OG) 54
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)
There was help from an own goal by Jos Hooiveld but Tottenham showed strong personality after Adam Lallana fired Southampton ahead and Ricky Lambert later levelled at 2-2.
Adebayor was the match-winner but Sherwood was smart enough to spot the early problems and brave enough to combat them by sending on teenage midfielder Nabil Bentaleb for his debut ahead of £8.6million summer signing Etienne Capoue when Mousa Dembele was injured.
Spurs were better with Bentaleb in midfield alongside Christian Eriksen. The 19-year-old won tackles and his touch was good and he solidified an area which was problematic early in the game with Lallana drifting behind Dembele and Eriksen.
Lallana recognised the weak spot and pounced, finding a pocket of space in this area to collect a pass turn and fire Saints into a 13th-minute lead.
‘He’s off to Brazil,’ sang the home crowd and they could be right.
Spurs started sloppily and Sherwood, having settled into the directors’ box at kick-off, was soon on the touchline, desperately relaying messages.
Encouraged to express themselves, his players over-egged it at times. They were keen to dribble and flick but could not make possession stick. Southampton dominated and their supporters taunted Spurs by claiming they were not so good without Gareth Bale.
No sooner was Sherwood at ground level than Saints squandered the chance to go two up. Again, it was a sweeping move across the pitch from Lambert to Lallana and onto Jay Rodriguez, who curled it over and failed to test Hugo Lloris from the edge of the penalty box.
It could have killed the game, but Spurs seized on the reprieve and responded before half-time. Erik Lamela, otherwise entirely peripheral, slipped a pass to Adebyaor who sought out Soldado wide on the left.
Southampton fans mocked the pass and cheered. Initially it seemed too heavy but it slowed up and Soldado chased it down and swung a deep cross into the goalmouth, where Adebayor stretched his right leg between Hooiveld and Danny Fox to hook in his second volley in five days.
At the start of the season, these two teams boasted miserly defensive records. Now they seem incapable of protecting their goal. Spurs have not kept a clean sheet in seven Premier League games and Saints suddenly have the worst record in the flight, without a clean sheet in eight.
The Southampton attacker is staking a late claim to be part of England’s World Cup squad
Elation: Danny Rose takes the plaudits after helping to put Tottenham 2-1 ahead
It cannot help to have Hooiveld in the ranks. The Dutch centre-half scored his fourth own-goal since the start of last season to put the visitors 2-1 up shortly after half-time.
Danny Rose cut in from the left, linked up neatly with Christian Eriksen and drove low towards the near post where Hooiveld turned it past his own goalkeeper at the near post.
Spurs looked more solid with Bentaleb in midfield but Saints levelled as Lallana’s wonderful vision and awareness created the simplest of chances for Lambert. A well-disguised square pass took Lloris out of the game and Lambert rolled it into the open net.
Sherwood hauled off Lamela and sent on Chadli, who has rarely impressed since his arrival in the summer but the Belgian winger helped inspire Tottenham’s best spell, when they should have run away from Southampton.
Adebayor outpaced Hooidveld only to be denied by Paulo Gazzaniga and then scored his second, a left-footer from close range, after Chadli’s strength won possession in a messy scramble, following a Spurs throw.
Despair: Sigurdsson celebrates after Jos Hooiveld puts the ball into his own goal
Tussle: Christian Eriksen battles with Morgan Schneiderlin in the middle of the park
Soldado missed the target three times in quick succession. The first he dragged wide when clean through, then somehow squirted Chadli’s low cross wide at the back post and slammed another into the side-netting after being released by Adebayor.
Southampton are missing many key defensive players – goalkeeper Artur Boruc, full-backs Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne and midfield enforcer Victor Wanyama. They so porous, Pochettino claimed they might as well have dressed up as Santa Claus but the Saints boss did not give up on rescuing a point.
Lloris was not always at his most secure. The Spurs keeper punched poorly but was alert to smother at Lallana’s feet and the save from teenager Sam Gallagher. Lambert had their final chance, but slammed his volley into ground and saw it spin agonisingly over the bar.
Spurs hung on. Bentaleb punched the turf and Michael Dawson led the cheerleading in front of the jubilant travelling fans. Sherwood moved a little closer the job he would love. How the mood has changed.
Hostility: Franco Baldini and Tim Sherwood were both present at the game
Source : Daily mail