Soccer Football - Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - October 3, 2021 Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min in action with Aston Villa's Matty Cash Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
October 3, 2021
By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur’s inspirational Son Heung-min said the key to their much-needed 2-1 Premier League home win over Aston Villa on Sunday was that they “played without fear”.
Three successive league defeats, in which they shipped a combined nine goals and scored once, had left Spurs in freefall and an in-form Villa side looked prime to take advantage.
But with South Korea forward Son producing a relentless display, setting up his side’s two goals, Tottenham looked energised as they emerged from their September slump.
“This win brings us a lot of good energy and the way we played today was different,” he said.
“We needed that especially before the international break. It is a good feeling to win this game and go away.
“We played different to a couple of weeks ago. We played without fear and we enjoyed it even when we lost the ball. The last three games were defeats we did not want and the confidence went down but we can bounce back and go back up.”
The result left Spurs eighth in the standings with 12 points, four behind leaders Chelsea after seven games, while Villa are two behind in 10th.
The hosts took a first-half lead through Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg but when Villa striker Ollie Watkins equalised with just over 20 minutes remaining it looked dangerous for a Tottenham side whose confidence has been fragile.
But Son’s superb run soon after saw Matt Targett score an own goal and Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo could breathe a sight of relief after coming under pressure.
Son said the key was that Spurs continue in the same mindset after the international break.
“Everyone is experienced, everyone wants to win and take responsibility. We have to keep this mindset. When we win it is not everything, it is a long season and we start on zero again for the next game,” he added.
Tottenham had managed only 57 goal attempts in their previous six games — scoring four goals.
But with Son running Villa’s defence ragged the home side were far more threatening on Sunday.
“I honestly believe there were more goals there for us today, but the production and the way we produced, the way we created was much, much better,” Espirito Santo said.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)