Fortune favours the brave. When Tottenham went down to ten men, due to Kyle Naughton's 29th minute red card for handball, and Mark Noble lined up to take the resultant penalty, Mauricio Pochettino would have been forgiven for thinking 'damage limitation'.
Noble missed from twelve yards, debutant Eric Dier moved to right back, Etienne Capoue filled in at centre half, and Spurs lined up 4-1-3-1.
That, in the third minute of injury time in the second half, Dier ran through to score the only goal game showed that Pochettino's unwillingness to give up his attack intentions were duly rewarded.
Spurs fans have warmed to Pochettino already
After a turgid spell under Andre Villas-Boas, aptly demonstrated in a series of poor 1-0 wins to open last season, and a directionless spell under temporary head coach Tim Sherwood, Spurs fans will be relieved more than anything else that the Argentine ex-Southampton coach looks to win even when a man down.
Naughton's misdemeanour came at a bad time for the player as well as team. With usual first choice right back Kyle Walker injured, the other Kyle had a chance to play in his preferred position and enjoy a run of games. The despair was plain on his face when he saw the red card, and while Spurs can re-jig the side for the game with QPR on sunday the future does not
look so good for Naughton.
Pochettino not a fan of Dawson?
Dier's selection ahead of former captain Michael Dawson indicates what the new coach thinks of the Tottenham stalwart, while Harry Kane's emergence from the bench ahead of £26million man Roberto Soldado was justified as the 21-year-old played in the pass that put Dier in on goal. The absence of Sandro from the match day squad demonstrates how fair the Brazilian
has fallen down the pecking list.
Record signing Erik Lamela made only his tenth Premier League appearance and while expectations could not be lower after last season's disaster, the former River Plate attacker will need games to acclimatise to the intensity and directness of English football. However, to see him on the pitch will hearten Spurs fans as the club enters another season of uncertainty.
With the first leg of the Europa League qualifier in Cyprus on Thursday, it will be interesting to see what side Pochettino puts out. Nevertheless, and albeit with a small sample size, there are green shoots of something promising at Tottenham.
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