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Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur. Premier League.

Villa Park.

Aston Villa 0

    Tottenham Hotspur 2

    • C Alves Morais (29th minute)
    • H Kane (68th minute pen)

    Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham: Spurs up to sixth as they put bad week behind them

    Match report as Tottenham returned to winning ways at Aston Villa; Carlos Vinicius' first Premier League goal sent Spurs on their way to victory; Harry Kane's penalty secured all three points; Jose Mourinho's side up to sixth, three points behind Chelsea in fourth; Villa stay 10th

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    FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham's win over Aston Villa in the Premier League

    Tottenham put a difficult week behind them as they breathed new life into their bid to secure European football next season with a 2-0 victory at Aston Villa on Super Sunday.

    Jose Mourinho's side, who were under pressure after defeat to north London rivals Arsenal last weekend and a Europa League exit at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb in midweek, took the lead midway through the first half thanks to Carlos Vinicius' first Premier League goal.

    Harry Kane, who partnered Vinicius in attack, put the smiles firmly back on Spurs' faces, scoring from the penalty spot to seal an important three points after winning the penalty following a coming together with Matty Cash.

    Victory sees Spurs, who ease the pressure off Mourinho, move above Everton and Liverpool into sixth, one point behind West Ham in fifth, and three behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

    Meanwhile, Villa, who were without the injured Jack Grealish again, stay 10th with defeat denting their own European hopes.

    Neville on Spurs' penalty...

    "Harry Kane doesn't play the ball, he runs over the ball. No one likes a wily striker more than Jose Mourinho and he was there Kane.

    "Cash has gone in there to block the cross that Kane is going to put across. Kane jumps over the ball and jumps into the challenge of Cash, it's as simple as that."

    Harry Kane

    How Spurs got back to winning ways...

    Mourinho made a statement with his team selection, responding to two disappointing results by making numerous changes and also including 16-year-olds Dane Scarlett and Alfie Devine on the bench.

    Team news

    • Jack Grealish lost his battle with a shin injury and missed a sixth successive game for Aston Villa. However, there was better news with the return of Matty Cash to the starting XI.
    • Jose Mourinho made a statement with his team selection. After the north London derby defeat last Sunday and an embarrassing Europa League exit to Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday, Mourinho was deeply unhappy with his side's attitude and made wholesale changes on Sunday. Japhet Tanganga and Joe Rodon came into the back four, Giovani Lo Celso started in a wide role, with Carlos Vinicius starting up front with Harry Kane for the first time. Dane Scarlett and Alfie Devine, both 16, were named among the substitutes.

    In the early stages, Villa looked threatening, but they failed to create any real clear-cut openings as Hugo Lloris remained untested.

    Also See:

    Spurs then pounced as Vinicius chased down a long ball, prompting goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez into a poor clearance that fell straight to Lucas Moura. The Brazilian played a swift one-two with Kane and then rolled the ball across the face of goal to give Vinicius the easiest of tap-ins and his first league goal in just his second start.

    Mourinho's men, seemingly learning from the mistakes of the previous week, came out in the second half trying to find another goal.

    Kane saw a deflected effort from the edge of the area flash just wide while Moura's pull back looked like it would pick out Kane, but Tyrone Mings just about intervened.

    Player ratings

    Aston Villa: Martinez (5), Cash (5), Konsa (6), Mings (6), Targett (7), Luiz (6), Sanson (5), McGinn (6), Traore (6), Watkins (6), Trezeguet (6).

    Subs: El Ghazi (6), Barkley (6), Davis (n/a).

    Tottenham: Lloris (7), Tanganga (7), Sanchez (6), Rodon (7), Reguilon (6), Hojbjerg (8), Lo Celso (7), Ndomebele (7), Moura (8), Vinicius (8), Kane (8).

    Subs: Davies (6), Bergwijn (6), Bergwijn (6).

    Man of the match: Lucas Moura

    Villa once again struggled to create in the absence of Grealish and had to wait until just before the hour before they had a shot on target as Joe Rodon made an important clearance from Trezeguet's effort.

    However, they failed to build on that as midway through the second half Spurs doubled their lead.

    Kane drew a foul from Cash right on the byline and he clinically converted, sending Martinez the wrong way for his 17th goal of the season.

    Spurs threatened to add a third as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg forced Martinez into action, but in the end, they didn't need it as they ended a tough week on a high.

    “It’s clever play from a very, very clever footballer.”
    Paul Merson on Kane's penalty

    Neville: Jose will be nibbling again

    Sky Sports' Gary Neville:

    "Spurs are a point off West Ham in fifth, three points behind Chelsea, who are in the final Champions League place.

    "Jose Mourinho will be nibbling again. It will be a comfortable international break for him now.

    "It's there for these Spurs players. We talk about it being a bad season and them doing more, which I think is right, but they could still go and win a trophy, and they could still go and get into the Champions League.

    "It's there for them. They have got the ability to do it, they are just inconsistent."

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    Jamie Redknapp says Tottenham still have so much to play for this season but everything is in the balance and could depend on how Jose Mourinho reacts over the coming weeks

    Merson: Spurs have every chance of top-four finish

    Sky Sports' Paul Merson:

    "Jose Mourinho would've been so pleased tonight.

    "I've been a manager in the lower leagues but it's still the same, if you have a couple of bad defeats you are just sweating that you are going to win the next game, and they did that at Aston Villa.

    "It's spot on what Jose said, there are ways of losing football matches. You can lose football matches and know the players have given everything and what can you do?

    "The last couple of games haven't been good enough.

    "But that was a typical Jose Mourinho performance. Solid at the back, not very entertaining but a very good win, and they needed it.

    "I look at their fixtures and I think they are a team with every chance of getting into the top four."

    What the managers said…

    Aston Villa boss Dean Smith: "Mistakes [cost us]. I thought we started well and were the better team in the first 30 minutes. We made a mistake and they scored. We got into good areas in the first half. We made a stupid mistake for the penalty.

    "Defensively we were solid all game. I thought Matt Targett was fouled, he needs to learn to go down maybe. They went on to score the second.

    "We can't [just] wait for Jack (Grealish) to come back. The players there, it's their opportunity. Not too many have taken it.

    "We've had a good season so far but we're in a bit of a blip. We won't get too downhearted. We'll reflect and work hard. We have a top player coming back for the next game."

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    Aston Villa's Dean Smith admits they've lacked creativity in the final third without Jack Grealish following their 2-0 defeat to Tottenham

    Spurs boss Jose Mourinho: "We had the attitude. Of course, we changed little tactical details but this was not about tactics, this was about attitude. So, total credit to the players. The players gave it everything.

    "Everyone was at the limit. We saw cramps, we saw fatigue. We saw the things that are connected with a performance where you give everything. Tonight was one of these matches where we had to give everything.

    "But my next challenge as their coach is for them to have this attitude every match and not just as a reaction to a bad result."

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    Jose Mourinho says Tottenham showed incredible attitude and effort in the win over Aston Villa which should be permanent within his side going forward

    Man of the match - Lucas Moura

    Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League - Villa Park
Aston Villa's Morgan Sanson (25) tackles Tottenham Hotspur's Lucas Moura during the Premier League match at Villa Park, Birmingham. Picture date: Sunday March 21, 2021.
    Image: Morgan Sanson tackles Lucas Moura

    Sky Sports' Gary Neville: "It could be Harry Kane, it could be Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, but I'm going with Lucas Moura.

    "I just think the setting up of the first goal and his general all-round performance has been really good."

    'We had to bounce back'

    Harry Kane to Sky Sports:

    "The last couple of games have not been good enough in all areas. We knew we had to bounce back, especially before the international break. We didn't want to go away with three losses, or two losses and a draw, but the boys put in a great shift and we deserved it.

    "Our attitude, in the last couple of games that had dropped below our standards, but we are working hard together, all in the same direction.

    "We'd lost a bit of that, but it was nice to get it back today and you saw everyone fighting and putting their bodies on the line and that's what we need if we're going to make a push for the top four.

    "Whenever you go through a difficult period, which for us was a London derby and then going out of the Europa League in that fashion, it was embarrassing for us as players, so the only way we can give back to the fans and to the club is to get out on the pitch and show what we're made of and we did that today."

    Opta stats - Spurs quietly going about their league business

    Tottenham's Harry Kane, left, is congratulated by teammate Lucas Moura after scoring his team's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira,Pool)
    Image: Harry Kane is congratulated by Lucas Moura after wrapping up the win for Spurs
    • Tottenham have won four of their last five Premier League games (L1), as many as their previous 15 league matches beforehand (W4 D4 L7).
    • Aston Villa are winless in four Premier League games (D2 L2), their longest such run of the season, with the Villans scoring just one goal in this winless stretch.
    • Villa failed to have a single shot in the opening 45 minutes against Spurs, the first time they failed to register an attempt in the first half of any home league game since April 2014 against Southampton. Their first shot of this match came in the 58th minute via Trézéguet.
    • Smith's side have won just one of their six Premier League games in which Jack Grealish has not featured this season (17% - D2 L3); this is compared to a 50% win rate in their 22 league matches with him in the side in 2020-21 (W11 D3 L8).

    What's next?

    Live Renault Super Sunday

    Live Premier League

    Following the international break, Aston Villa host Fulham on Saturday, April 3 at 8pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7.45pm.

    Meanwhile, Tottenham travel to Newcastle on Sunday, April 3; kick-off at 2.05pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League.

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