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Tottenham gain ground on rivals with solid home win over toothless Brentford

December 3, 2021


  • Antonio Conte secures consecutive home league wins 
  • Sergi Canos own goal and Heung-min Son finish earn the points 

This was an Antonio Conte “passion” play. It was the word repeated by the Tottenham head coach, it was the noun reiterated by goal-scorer Son Heung-min and it was the intense sense evident throughout as Conte coached and cajoled and dragged his team – kicking and screaming – to a precious victory that places them on the cusp of the Premier League top four with a game in hand. Win that and, remarkably, they are in the Champions League places.

On the touchline Conte lit the touchpaper and he did not waver. Whatever the running statistics for those out on the pitch it appeared the Italian almost matched them. On a bitterly cold night Conte simply did not need a coat and, by the end, he looked exhausted. He looked spent.

Little wonder Conte allowed himself to celebrate – for a couple of hours at least. “We can enjoy the win to midnight, but one second after midnight we need to start thinking about the difficult game on Sunday,” he said in what felt as much a threat as a promise ahead of another home game against 19th-place Norwich City this weekend.

In fact it almost looks like the players are too afraid not to run and work and fight, as they seem scolded into action against Brentford by Conte and that was epitomised by midfielder Oliver Skipp who played with “heart and soul”. There was more than one nervous glance towards the technical area.

And for his next trick Conte just has to get Harry Kane scoring again. If that happens Spurs really are back in business. “I am not worried about Harry Kane,” he said, declaring the striker remained the “point of reference”. “To have a player like this and to play with his commitment, desire and passion (that word again) makes me very happy,” Conte said.

Kane had just one chance, when sent clear by Skipp early in the second-half, but his shot was turned away by goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez with his knee although, in truth, the effort lacked conviction. A confident Kane would have buried it.

Maybe the embarrassment of losing to Slovenian side Mura in the Europa Conference League last week, the equivalent to being beaten by a mid-table League One team, and the frustration of their league game away to Burnley being postponed due to snow fuelled Spurs.

They deserved to win – but the opening goal was tough on Brentford.

Fernandez had already saved well from Lucas Moura, pushing over his shot, but was helpless as Son floated the ball in and it was headed past him from close-range.

It looked like Ben Davies’ goal but it transpired the cross had been met by Pontus Jansson who headed it against the head of team-mate Sergi Canos who was close by and challenging the Spurs defender. The fact Davies looked a little bemused in his celebration summed up the oddity of it all and so having scored Brentford’s first ever Premier League goal Canos had their first ever Premier League own goal.

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