AT WHITE HART LANE
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 NEWCASTLE UNITED 2
STUNNED Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino insists his toughest task is to improve the mindset of his players after Spurs’ second-half capitulation gifted Newcastle their first away win of the campaign yesterday.
A double substitution at the break from counterpart Alan Pardew laid the platform for Newcastle’s revival with replacement Sammy Ameobi immediately cancelling out Emmanuel Adebayor’s opener.
Pardew also sent on Remy Cabella and the former Montpellier forward provided the ammunition for Ayoze Perez to head his first Premier League goal and ease the pressure on his under-fire manager.
And while adamant his side’s first-half showing ranked as the finest of his tenure, a mystified Pochettino – who has overseen a run of one win in seven league games – was at a loss to explain the contrasting nature of the second period.
“We have improved our physical and tactical condition but now our challenge is to create a winning mentality,” he said. “The first 45 minutes was our best in the beginning of the season but after there was a lack of concentration. We need to improve our mentality.
“It is difficult to explain the difference between the first half and the start of the second. We conceded a stupid goal, a shock, and all changed in this moment. Our heads went and we started making rash decisions on the pitch.”
Spurs stamped their authority early and duly took the lead on 18 minutes when Ryan Mason’s clipped ball to the far post was headed back across goal and beyond Tim Krul by a towering Adebayor.
Newcastle forays into opposition territory had been sporadic but the Magpies equalised seven seconds into the second period, Ameobi finishing past Hugo Lloris after outpacing full-back Eric Dier.
The visitors turned the game on its head shortly before the hour, Moussa Sissoko’s enterprising run down the left resulting in Cabella crossing for Perez to plant a firm header past Lloris.
Homegrown striker Harry Kane, a midweek hat-trick hero in the Europa League, was thrown on but was unable to be Tottenham or Pochettino’s saviour. Kane tested Krul from Danny Rose’s fizzed pass while the 21-year-old’s forceful ball across the box lacked a killer instinct from onrushing Spurs forwards.