Tottenham Hotspur 1, Crystal Palace 0
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino hailed Paulo Gazzaniga after his third-choice goalkeeper made a string of key saves on his debut to earn a hard-fought win over struggling Crystal Palace.
Heung-Min Son’s second-half goal decided the contest but the performance of Gazzaniga, a summer signing from Southampton, was equally important in keeping Pochettino’s men eight points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City. Palace remain bottom.
“I am so happy for the different players who came in, people like Paulo, who played fantastically well,” said the Spurs boss.
“He is an unbelievable option to have as a keeper and I am really happy for him and his family that he performed like that.”
Gazzaniga, 25, only learned he would play on Saturday night when it became apparent that Michel Vorm, due to deputise for injured No1 Hugo Lloris, was struggling with a knee problem.
But the Argentinian rose to the occasion, twice saving headers from Palace defender Scott Dann and sprawling low to tip wide former Tottenham winger Andros Townsend’s fizzing shot.
Son struck his third goal of the season in the 64th minute, curling past Julian Speroni from the edge of the penalty area, to lift a Spurs side who appeared sapped by their landmark win over Real Madrid in midweek.
Midfielder Dele Alli, their two-goal hero against Real, missed this match with a hamstring injury that will keep him out of England duty this week, and Pochettino hopes striker Harry Kane, withdrawn early against Palace, will be used lightly.
“It’s a difficult situation. For us we are focusing on our problems and our injuries, but I also understand completely what the national team wants and needs,” he added.
“The most important thing is the national teams understand the needs of our players and help them so they will be fit when they return. The next period of the season is very tough on the players.”