Son Heung-min scored his 100th goal for Tottenham as they returned to winning ways in the Premier League against Leeds.
Spurs’ first league victory since 6 December lifts them to third in the table, with Leeds remaining 11th.
While Jose Mourinho’s side merited their win, Leeds played a significant part in their own downfall.
Goalkeeper Illan Meslier’s misplaced pass led to Harry Kane opening the scoring with a penalty after Ezgjan Alioski fouled Steven Bergwijn.
Kane then turned provider, with a curling cross from the right that was swept in by Son at the near post as the hosts doubled their advantage.
While Leeds streamed forward at every opportunity and carved out chances of their own, they often left themselves exposed in defence and were fortunate not to be more severely punished by Mourinho’s side.
As it was, Toby Alderweireld’s near-post header rounded off the scoring at the start of the second half, with Meslier again culpable as he fumbled the ball over the line.
It was a welcome outcome for Mourinho, who called the situation around Wednesday’s postponed match against Fulham “unprofessional” and is also likely to have been unimpressed by three of his players breaching coronavirus rules by attending a party over Christmas.
The only negative of the day for Spurs was the stoppage-time dismissal of defender Matt Doherty for a second booking.
Son and Kane spark Spurs
The problem for Spurs fans and Mourinho over recent weeks has been you are never quite sure exactly what to expect from this Tottenham team.
There is the side that is ruthless, relentless and showed clinical efficiency during victories over both Manchester clubs and their north London rivals Arsenal.
And there is the one that stuttered and at times retreated while conceding late goals that cost them points in fixtures with Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Wolves.
However, one constant is the deadly partnership of Kane and Son, who have now combined for 13 top-flight goals this term, to equal the record set by Blackburn’s Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton in 1994-95.
The ‘SAS’ spearheaded Kenny Dalglish’s side to the league title that term and Mourinho will surely privately have not dismissed that his side could yet find the momentum for a title tilt despite previously downplaying their chances.
Kane, who was a threat from the moment he flashed an early left-foot drive over the Leeds bar, has now scored against all 30 teams he has faced in the Premier League.
Son, whose energy and running provided the spark for many of Tottenham’s attacks, emphasised his importance with a superb display that has now seen him contribute to 17 goals in his last 14 matches.
With Bergwijn failing to convert from three good opportunities and Ben Davies also blazing over when well-placed, their performance also underlined Tottenham’s reliance on their star forward duo.
Wasteful Leeds made to pay for expansive style
By the time Leeds fell behind in the 29th minute they had squandered several good opportunities to change the trajectory of the match.
And with each chance that came and went, head coach Marcelo Bielsa became visibly frustrated as he jumped from his haunches in the technical area.
Macedonian winger Alioski was the first to go close, driving a fourth-minute effort into the side-netting after the visitors had carved open the Spurs defence down the left.
Mateusz Klich then lifted a close-range shot over the bar under pressure and Patrick Bamford found himself unmarked six yards from goal but could only head Raphinha’s right-wing delivery over the bar.
Bamford’s intelligence and movement, coupled with quick passing from side to side, caused the hosts plenty of problems but ultimately not having a Kane or Son at their disposal proved the difference.
Bamford, the only player to register more shots (seven) than Kane, rarely troubled Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and in the end Leeds were made to pay for missed chances as well as their attempts to play out from the back.
‘Happier to look at the screen’ – what they said
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho, speaking to BBC Sport: “Very important [to win]. The run of results lately was not good. We didn’t play against Fulham, of course.
“Look at the table and you have one match less and [you are] not happy with what you see. [With] this three points, you are now happier to look at the screen.
“Leeds are a team with very specific qualities. Easy to understand but difficult to play against. We tried not to give them what they want. Close the door where they have situations where they can hurt people.”
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa, speaking to BBC Sport: “According to the display of both teams the result could have been a closer one. We had nine chances to score.
“And the chances they had and scored from, they came from errors. We already made these types of errors. We played the game on an even keel. Our forwards had the capacity to unbalance them and defenders had the capacity to neutralise.
“We were losing the ball when building up from the back and [there was] a goal from a set-piece.
“We need to demand more from ourselves. The start of the second half was a very important part of the game – we didn’t go at it in a favourable manner.”
Leeds draw a blank away – the stats
- Tottenham have won four of their last five Premier League home games (lost one), with this their biggest victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium since July (3-0 v Leicester).
- Leeds failed to score in an away Premier League game for the first time this season, leaving Aston Villa and Manchester United as the only sides to have scored in 100% of their games on the road.
- Leeds have conceded six penalty goals this season, more than any other side in the Premier League. Only in 2003-04 (seven), have they shipped more in a single campaign in the competition.
- Tottenham striker Harry Kane has scored against all 30 opponents he has faced in the Premier League, the best 100% record in the competition among players to have faced more than one side.
- Son Heung-min’s first-half strike was his 100th goal in all competitions for Tottenham (253rd appearance), the 18th player to reach the milestone for the club.
- Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have combined for 13 Premier League goals this season – no pair have ever combined for more in a single campaign in the competition. Kane has assisted Son nine times – a joint-record for one player assisting another within a Premier League season.
- Courtesy of his penalty goal, Harry Kane became the first player to reach double figures for both goals and assists in the top five European leagues this season.
- Matt Doherty was sent off for Spurs in their first game of 2021 – the Lilywhites did not receive a single Premier League red card in 2020.
Tottenham face Championship side Brentford in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, 5 January (19:45 GMT) before travelling to non-league side Marine in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday, 10 January (17:00 GMT).
Their next Premier League game is scheduled for Wednesday, 13 January, when they visit Aston Villa (20:15 GMT).
Leeds travel to League Two Crawley in the FA Cup on Sunday, 10 January (13:30 GMT). They resume top-flight action when they host Brighton on Saturday, 16 January 15:00 (GMT).
- 2DohertyBooked at 90mins
- 8WinksBooked at 54minsSubstituted forSissokoat 76′minutes
- 5HøjbjergBooked at 85mins
- 28NdombeleSubstituted forLucas Mouraat 78′minutes
- 7Son Heung-Min
- 10KaneSubstituted forAlves Moraisat 87′minutes
- 27Lucas Moura
- 30Carvalho Fernandes
- 45Alves Morais
- 10AlioskiSubstituted forShackletonat 64′minutes
- 23PhillipsBooked at 89mins
- 18Dias Belloli
- 20RodrigoSubstituted forHernándezat 65′minutes
- 22HarrisonSubstituted forPoveda-Ocampoat 61′minutes
- 17Hélder Costa
- David Coote
Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 3, Leeds United 0.
Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 3, Leeds United 0.
Attempt missed. Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Raphinha with a cross.
Second yellow card to Matt Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur) for a bad foul.
Pablo Hernández (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Matt Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur).
Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United).
Carlos Vinicius (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Stuart Dallas (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Carlos Vinicius (Tottenham Hotspur).
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Carlos Vinicius replaces Harry Kane.
Foul by Stuart Dallas (Leeds United).
Matt Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Pablo Hernández (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur).
Attempt saved. Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Raphinha with a cross.
Attempt missed. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Matt Doherty.
Attempt saved. Raphinha (Leeds United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Pablo Hernández.