Tottenham fielded five players who featured in the World Cup semi-finals, but they battled against fatigue to see out a 2-1 win at St. James’ Park
Mauricio Pochettino hailed a “fantastic” effort from his Tottenham players after they battled to a 2-1 win at Newcastle United on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.
Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli scored either side of Newcastle striker Joselu during a frantic opening 18 minutes at St James’ Park.
Vertonghen and Alli were two of five World Cup semi-finalists in the Spurs starting line-up despite only returning to training this week.
Mohamed Diame and Salomon Rondon were denied by post and crossbar during the second half as a flagging Tottenham hung on.
“I am so proud. I think the performance, in all the circumstances, we were fantastic,” Pochettino told Sky Sports.
“Newcastle were a very good opponent. They created some chances to score more than one.
“Sometimes in football you need not only effort but some luck. I think in all the circumstances and how we prepared the game, with a lot of player who only started training on Monday, we can say it’s a brilliant effort.
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“We need to play better, be more consistent and not allow the opposition to create chances.
“But, of course, I am not going to complain. We need to be clever and learn and it’s a massive challenge to try to work all together again in just a few days.”
Spurs did not add a single player during the transfer window, sparking discontent from some of the club’s supporters.
Pochettino’s side showed the benefit of familiarity as they hung on against Newcastle and, with a move to the new White Hart Lane on the horizon, the Argentinian tactician took the opportunity to call for a united front.
He said: “We need to stay all together – the staff and players. And the most important thing is our fans. [We are] giving out supporters another difficult season when we move to the new stadium.
“It’s so important that our fans understand that we need a lot of help and of course we are going to give our very best to help them feel proud.”