Hotspur moved back into the Champions League places with a 1-0 win
City built on persistence and frayed nerves.
After 75 minutes of short-passing stalemate, the winner came courtesy of a
set-piece, Jan Vertonghen sweeping home after a Kyle Walker cross fell to
his right foot on the half-volley.
Unlike a week ago at Everton, and several other times this season, having
gained a slender advantage, Andre Villas-Boas’s side managed to defend it.
With 15 minutes to hold out, White Hart Lane braced itself for a nervy finale,
conscious that 10 goals conceded in the last 10 minutes of Premier League
games have proved costly. Had they kept them out, Spurs would sit top of a
notional league of games lasting only 80 minutes.
This time they managed it, and the coach will settle for fourth in the real
world, particularly after surviving a late barrage from visitors who only
abandoned their short-passing principles in desperation.