Tottenham got their season back on track on Wednesday night as they came from behind to beat Watford 2-1 at Wembley.
After a torrid week for Mauricio Pochettino, there was scarce improvement during the first half as Spurs went into the break 1-0 down following a header from Craig Cathcart eight minutes before the interval.
It was seemingly going to be another frustrating night at Wembley when Fernando Llorente missed an open goal from three yards out, however, Son Heung-min’s strike and Llorente’s header minutes from time sealed a dramatic comeback win.
Here are three things we learned from the clash.
1. Spurs Showed Their Fighting Spirit
Many labels have been thrown at Spurs over the past few seasons, mostly questioning their ‘bottle’ and ability to win when it matters most. After being dumped out of both domestic cup competitions in a week, this was arguably their most important fixture with their season threatening to unravel.
After heading into the break behind, Spurs had the perfect opportunity to show their fighting qualities, and they did. With much of the team also playing on Sunday, it was a Herculean effort from Pochettino’s side to seal a comeback win late on, against a Watford side that rested their entire starting XI for their FA Cup fixture.
They showed their ‘bottle’ in abundance and were deserved winners based on the balance of play. Performing such heroics without talisman Harry Kane is also an excellent sign for Spurs moving forward as they face a crunch Champions League last-16 clash against Borussia Dortmund.
2. Watford Will Rue Their Missed Chances
It was a night that ‘could have been’ for Javi Gracia’s side, as they were aiming to complete the double over Spurs after beating them 2-1 back in September. They looked on course to do so after Cathcart’s opener, but some sloppy defending and a number of missed chances late on saw the Hornets succumb to their ninth defeat of the season.
Gracia referenced Isaac Success’ missed chance in his post-match press conference, as it proved to be the turning point in the game. With just five minutes to play and the scores locked at 1-1, Watford broke on the counter with the ball being played to the Success who could only fire wide from 12 yards.
Within a minute, Tottenham had grabbed the winner with little time left for Watford to respond. If the Hornets showed a touch more quality in final third, they would have claimed all three points on a night that promised so much more for Gracia’s side.
3. Spurs are Missing Their Leader on the Pitch
Despite claiming a vital three points, it was evident over the course of this game – and against Crystal Palace on Sunday – that Spurs are missing their captain and talisman desperately. Harry Kane offers so much more than just goals to the side, he provides inspiration and hope to his team mates and fans in times of adversity.
Although his replacement, Llorente, grabbed the winning goal, he is little more than a stopgap as Pochettino awaits the return of the injured Kane. The Spaniard endured a difficult evening as he missed two glaring opportunities to equalise and was also clumsy in possession, giving the ball away a number of times.
To be fair, Llorente didn’t shy away from the challenge and continued to put himself about the box, netting a vital goal to redeem himself. However, he is no Kane. Spurs will be desperate for the England striker to return to full fitness as soon as possible, as he’ll gobble up the chances missed by his replacement.