Tottenham recorded their first Premier League win of the new season after Ryan Mason’s late strike gave Mauricio Pochettino’s side a 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light that sent Sunderland bottom.
The two sides came into the match placed 17th and 19th in the table and their lack of confidence showed in a disappointing match on Sunday.
The home side produced a spirited performance and had the best of the chances when former Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe hit the post in the first half.
Tottenham did not have a single attempt on target until the closing stages, but Mason’s 82nd-minute finish gave them the points, although he was injured in the process of scoring and left the field on a stretcher.
The crossbar denied Jack Rodwell late on as Sunderland were left to rue their bad luck.
Son Heung-min played for 62 minutes in a relatively quiet performance after being handed his Tottenham debut, while Fabio Borini was given his second Sunderland bow after re-joining the club from Liverpool and Ola Toivonen made his first start.
Sunderland had a scare just one minute into the match when Kyle Walker appealed for a penalty after a heavy collision with Patrick van Aanholt, but referee Craig Pawson was unmoved.
Defoe shot straight at Hugo Lloris for the hosts, while Jeremain Lens was not far away with an effort after cutting inside from the right.
Defoe then missed a golden opportunity to find the breakthrough midway through the first half after he was played through by a pinpoint Lens pass.
The striker beat Toby Alderweireld for pace and a goal looked inevitable as he bore down on Lloris, only for his shot to cannon off the foot of the post and out to safety.
Sunderland threatened through Defoe again when he tested Lloris after twisting into space despite being pulled back by Alderweireld.
At the other end, a crucial challenge from Jordi Gomez denied Son the chance to pull the trigger after a slick passing move as Tottenham were otherwise restricted to long-range chances in the first half.
Defoe and Lens continued to cause trouble for Spurs and the duo combined again before the Dutch winger forced Lloris into a low diving stop.
Harry Kane mis-kicked awfully when Mason’s dipping cross fell into his path as his wait for a 2015-16 Premier League goal goes on.
Eric Dier and Mason finally managed to work Costel Pantilimon for the first time in the final 15 minutes as Spurs began to gain momentum.
The victory was sealed when substitute Erik Lamela slipped through Mason, who recovered after a poor first touch to impressively dink his finish over Pantilimon as he injured himself in the act of scoring.
Sunderland would have felt hard done by to fall behind and Rodwell crashed a shot against the crossbar with five minutes left after good work from Younes Kaboul before Pantilimon denied Kane what would have been an undeserved second goal for Tottenham.