Pochettino impressed with Tottenham effort in opening-day victory

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 August 2018

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris dives to take the ball from Newcastle United's Kenedy (pic: Owen Humphreys/PA Images).

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris dives to take the ball from Newcastle United's Kenedy (pic: Owen Humphreys/PA Images).

PA Wire/PA Images

Spurs had five players in their starting XI who reached the World Cup semi-finals and two of them scored at St James’ Park

Mauricio Pochettino hailed the effort of his Spurs team after starting the Premier League season with a 2-1 win away to Newcastle United.

Nine of Tottenham Hotspur’s squad only returned to the training ground a few days before the Saturday clash at St James’ Park because of their World Cup success.

But it failed to stop Spurs making a winning start to the new campaign after first-half goals from Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli cancelled out Joselu’s equaliser.

“I am so proud. I think the performance, with all the circumstances, was fantastic – it was a brilliant effort,” Pochettino told Sky Sports.

“We played against a very good team. Newcastle was a very good opponent and they created some chances to maybe score more than one, but sometimes you need not only effort, some luck.

“But I think with all the circumstances and how we prepared for the game with a lot of players only training from Monday (August 6), I think we can say it was a brilliant effort.

“We can do better of course and we need to play better and be more consistent, and not allow the opponent to create so many chances, but it was so difficult and a massive challenge to connect everything and play like a team in only the few days we had to prepare.

“Of course I am not going to complain, it is only we need to take this, be clever and learn and all work together again this week.”

The Spurs boss included Hugo Lloris, Vertonghen, Eric Dier, Alli and Kane from the off at Newcastle despite the fivesome only coming back to Hotspur Way days earlier.

Toby Alderweireld and Mousa Dembele were also on the bench, but the decision by Pochettino to pick so many at St James’ Park paid off.

Vertonghen scored after just nine minutes when he got on the end of Davinson Sanchez’s header following a Christian Eriksen corner.

Goalline technology awarded the goal, but Joselu levelled two minutes later with a close-range header before Alli made it a day of headers with the winner.

The England man got on the end of Serge Aurier’s cross in the 18th minute to seal an excellent 2-1 win.

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