Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino blamed a series of basic errors for the demise of his side’s 14-match unbeaten Premier League run but refused to scapegoat goalkeeper Hugo Lloris for yesterday’s defeat to Newcastle.
Substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic cancelled out Eric Dier’s first-half headed opener before fellow replacement Ayoze Perez, just as he did in this fixture last season, proved the match-winner with a last-gasp strike.
Maximum points eased Newcastle’s relegation fears and propelled the Magpies out of the relegation zone to 15th, while fifth-placed Tottenham missed the chance to gatecrash the top four.
“I think there is an easy explanation for our defeat. We lose control and we start to make some easy mistakes,” said Pochettino, who denied speculation linking Tottenham with a move for Perez.
“When we need to play one touch, we play with three touches. When we need to play forward, we drop. We start to give the opponents the belief. This was the problem.
“It’s not about one player [Lloris]. The feeling was in the second half when we had the ball we start to make mistakes. This was the problem, not one player.
“The first person that is responsible for the defeat is me.”
England forward Harry Kane’s low drive inside the opening minute tested Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot to hint at a comfortable afternoon against their travel sick visitors.
But Spurs barely threatened to unlock Newcastle, who arrived having taken just five points from a possible 42 on the road, until the half’s latter stages when Elliot twice repelled Erik Lamela efforts.
The second resulted in Dier glancing Christian Eriksen’s near-post corner past Elliot, although a fingertip touch from the former Charlton stopper prevented Vernun Anita heading clear.
An increasingly enterprising Newcastle levelled on 74 minutes as Mitrovic prodded home on the line after Lloris could only waft an unconvincing hand at Chancel Mbemba’s stopping header from Fabricio Coloccini’s knockdown.
The visitors looked the most likely to steal maximum points and duly netted in stoppage time as Perez evaded the Tottenham backline to meet Mitrovic’s flick and volley under a suspect Lloris.
A third consecutive win at White Hart Lane – a feat not achieved since 1911 – was also the first time since November 2014 that Newcastle had recorded back-to-back victories.
“At Newcastle you’re only two days away from another crisis,” said Newcastle manager Steve McClaren. “It’s important to keep our feet on the ground, we’ve not turned a corner.”