AT WHITE HART LANE
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 EVERTON 1
TOTTENHAM boss Mauricio Pochettino admitted his side’s defeat of Everton contained hidden value after goal-shy Spanish striker Roberto Soldado proved the match-winner at White Hart Lane yesterday.
Soldado reacquainted himself with the Premier League scoresheet to end a nine-month barren spell in first-half stoppage time after Christian Eriksen had cancelled out Kevin Mirallas’s stunning opener.
Spurs had accrued just six points from a possible 18 this season following their Europa League exertions and posted just two home Premier League wins heading into their clash with Roberto Martinez’s Toffees.
But while victory made it six wins from seven matches across all competitions, Pochettino was relieved to start redressing balances which have blighted his seventh-placed side’s indifferent campaign.
“This victory was important. It was not only three points, I think it was a lit bit more than that,” he said.
“It was important because it is difficult when you win away and lose at home. This is not the right way. I understand that our supporters were angry because if you lose four games at home, this is difficult and it is impossible for our supporters to be happy. But I think the team [against Everton] sent different signals to our supporters.”
Everton, without a win here since 2008, breached the Tottenham backline on 15 minutes when Mirallas whipped a sweet, curling effort beyond Lloris from the edge of the area for his fifth strike in seven starts.
Tottenham levelled six minutes later, Eriksen producing a clever dinked finish over a stranded Tim Howard which also deceived the retreating Gareth Barry on the line, after the goalkeeper had parried Harry Kane’s low drive.
The willing Kane shot weakly at the Howard after a buccaneering run from halfway before Eriksen’s deflected effort from 18 yards flashed inches wide of Howard’s left-hand post.
Soldado’s goalscoring blues looked to be continuing when the former Valencia forward failed to test Howard with an attempted lob while clean through. But in first-half stoppage-time the 29-year-old showcased the sort of finishing which made him such a prolific hit in his homeland, latching on to Aaron Lennon’s pass to slip the ball beyond Howard.
Despite both teams’ Europa League commitments in midweek, Spurs looked enterprising and inventive and Everton jaded. The visitors failed to overly trouble Hugo Lloris although the Frenchman was forced to smother full-back Seamus Coleman’s effort while referee Michael Oliver waved away late penalty claims for handball against Federico Fazio.