Dele Alli and Son Heung-min were pleased to bounce back from Tottenham’s Champions League woes with a 1-0 win over Sunderland, but conceded the hosts could have been more clinical at White Hart Lane.
Spurs had 19 shots without reward during the first half, with man-of-the-match Son hitting the post.
Their persistence paid off as Harry Kane pounced on the end of Alli’s knockdown to ease the blow of their 2-1 defeat against Monaco at Wembley on Wednesday.
Injuries to Kane, Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier soured the afternoon for Spurs, while Sunderland had Adnan Januzaj sent off in the 90th minute as Mauricio Pochettino’s side moved up to third in the table behind fellow undefeated sides Manchester City and Everton.
“We always look to bounce back after a defeat. The game against Monaco was a hard one to take,” Alli told Sky Sports.
“Maybe we should have seen this game off sooner. We were dominating. We felt comfortable and felt we needed to be patient. We knew a chance would come and thankfully it did.
“It’s a great bunch of boys here, everyone gets on well and looks to help each other on the pitch.”
Son ensured Jason Denayer – a late inclusion in the Sunderland side in place of Patrick van Aanholt – endured a torrid Sunderland debut at right-back but concurred there should have been more by way of end product before Kane’s 59th-minute breakthrough.
“We were disappointed because we scored only one goal. We had many chances,” he told BBC Match of the Day.
“But it was important to get three points in a very difficult game.
“In the first 20 minutes we had 10 shots I think. Football is about finishing chances and we have to score more goals
“This [win] was important for our mentality. Every three days we have one game. We must have 100 per cent mentality.”