Tottenham gain ground on rivals with solid home win over toothless Brentford

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·21-min read
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  • Tottenham Hotspur
    Tottenham Hotspur
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Antonio Conte
    Antonio Conte
    Italian association football player and manager
  • Harry Kane
    Harry Kane
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Tottenham Hotspur vs Brentford, Premier League: live score and latest updates - PA
Tottenham Hotspur vs Brentford, Premier League: live score and latest updates - PA
  • Antonio Conte secures consecutive home league wins

  • Sergi Canos own goal and Heung-min Son finish earn the points

This was an Antonio Conte “passion” play. It was the word repeated by the Tottenham head coach, it was the noun reiterated by goal-scorer Son Heung-min and it was the intense sense evident throughout as Conte coached and cajoled and dragged his team – kicking and screaming – to a precious victory that places them on the cusp of the Premier League top four with a game in hand. Win that and, remarkably, they are in the Champions League places.

On the touchline Conte lit the touchpaper and he did not waver. Whatever the running statistics for those out on the pitch it appeared the Italian almost matched them. On a bitterly cold night Conte simply did not need a coat and, by the end, he looked exhausted. He looked spent.

Little wonder Conte allowed himself to celebrate - for a couple of hours at least. “We can enjoy the win to midnight, but one second after midnight we need to start thinking about the difficult game on Sunday,” he said in what felt as much a threat as a promise ahead of another home game against 19th-place Norwich City this weekend.

In fact it almost looks like the players are too afraid not to run and work and fight, as they seem scolded into action against Brentford by Conte and that was epitomised by midfielder Oliver Skipp who played with “heart and soul”. There was more than one nervous glance towards the technical area.

And for his next trick Conte just has to get Harry Kane scoring again. If that happens Spurs really are back in business. "I am not worried about Harry Kane,” he said, declaring the striker remained the “point of reference”. “To have a player like this and to play with his commitment, desire and passion (that word again) makes me very happy,” Conte said.

Kane had just one chance, when sent clear by Skipp early in the second-half, but his shot was turned away by goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez with his knee although, in truth, the effort lacked conviction. A confident Kane would have buried it.

Maybe the embarrassment of losing to Slovenian side Mura in the Europa Conference League last week, the equivalent to being beaten by a mid-table League One team, and the frustration of their league game away to Burnley being postponed due to snow fuelled Spurs.

They deserved to win – but the opening goal was tough on Brentford.

Fernandez had already saved well from Lucas Moura, pushing over his shot, but was helpless as Son floated the ball in and it was headed past him from close-range.

It looked like Ben Davies’ goal but it transpired the cross had been met by Pontus Jansson who headed it against the head of team-mate Sergi Canos who was close by and challenging the Spurs defender. The fact Davies looked a little bemused in his celebration summed up the oddity of it all and so having scored Brentford’s first ever Premier League goal Canos had their first ever Premier League own goal.

“I am pleased with the attitude and work ethic - we were very brave. We came here and played our game,” said Brentford head coach Thomas Frank and they did just that although the commitment of Spurs was evident when, just before half-time, no fewer than six players sprinted back as Bryan Mbeuma broke on his own from a corner and threatened to run at Skipp, who was the last defender. Instead the forward was forced to try and beat Hugo Lloris from distance.

So the discipline demanded by Conte was clear. Spurs’ players quickly funnelled back into position when the ball was lost as he continued to bark out instructions. The Burnley call-off had given him unexpected time on the training ground and it showed even if they now face the test of 10 games in 30 days.

Brentford had stopped their slide, having failed to win in five league matches, losing four of them, with last weekend’s victory over Everton, and after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg failed to double Spurs advantage when he side-footed into the side netting from Kane’s cross it was the visitors who began to believe with Conte ever more agitated.

But as the momentum swung, with substitute Shandon Baptiste making a difference, Brentford were caught out through an excellent counter-attack as they committed players up-field.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte celebrates after the final whistle during the Premier League match  - PA
Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte celebrates after the final whistle during the Premier League match - PA

As the ball was won back, Kane sprung Sergio Reguilon free down the left and there was a vast area of turf for him to run into before he crossed low with an unmarked Son converting. “He is so passionate, I love it,” Son said of Conte and there he was in his technical area going crazy.

If Spurs had the cushion then Brentford tried to whip it away. Lloris had already denied Ivan Toney and had to be alert to tip over a dipping cross-cum-shot from substitute Mathias Jensen that almost deceived him before he thwarted Toney again, with an outstretched leg.

There was no way back for Brentford as Spurs redoubled their efforts to repel them. “Antonio, Antonio,” sang the Spurs fans. They know who the star of the show is right now. And their potential saviour.

09:24 PM

FT: Tottenham 2 Brentford 0

Consecutive wins at home for Conte and it moves Spurs on to 22 points. They possibly need to add more guile and creativity but they rarely looked troubled this evening.

09:19 PM

Three minutes stoppage time

Spurs just need to stay professional and see this out.

09:19 PM

90 minutes

Brentford swing another cross in but Lloris is fouled by Toney. That looks to be the visitors' race run.

09:17 PM

88 minutes

Mbuemo with a wild strike from the corner of the box when Brentford had numbers forward in promising areas. Spurs inching towards a very satisfying home win.

09:15 PM

86 minutes

Spurs do well to defend another Brentford corner and then Son is brought down on the counter to earn them a free-kick on halfway. He is coming off to a good reception from the home fans replaced by Steven Bergwijn.

09:13 PM

84 minutes

Wonderful reverse pass into Toney's path in the penalty area from Norgaard. From a tight angle he managed to divert it on target, but Lloris saved with an out-stretched leg.

09:10 PM

81 minutes

Son heads out of his own box. Spurs have looked pretty resolute this evening. Son then looked to have a chance on the break but Brentford managed to delay and get bodies behind the ball.

09:09 PM

79 minutes

Dier with a good header clear after Wissa looked to curl a cross into Toney. Then Davies produces a committed block to cut out a Norgaard ball across the area. Another Brentford corner on the way.

09:03 PM

74 minutes

Lloris has to tip a mis-cued Brentford cross over the bar. Corner to come in from the right side, but it does not quite drop for a yellow shirt. Brentford still camped in the Tottenham half through and Jensen wins a free-kick near the left-corner of the box.

09:00 PM

71 minutes

Spurs searching for Reguilon down the left again but the long diagonal has skipped out of play. The home team now happy to get numbers behind the ball and let Brentford have possession.

08:57 PM

There's that Spurs second goal

08:56 PM

67 minutes

There was evidence of Conte's pattern play in that Spurs second goal, the type of move he loves to train in his 11v0 drills on the training ground. Brentford are readying a couple of changes but this is a tall order now.

08:54 PM

GOAL! Spurs look to have killed the game off

Son the goalscorer. That is when Spurs are at their best, going from back to front quickly. Son set the play back to Kane on halfway, he released Reguilon on the overlap down the left who teed up Son for a chance he couldn't miss from a few yards out. Nice move.

08:52 PM

64 minutes

Spurs a little skittish playing out from the back, but Reguilon went to ground to win the ball ahead of Baptiste.

Then Brentford produced their most flowing move of the night: Toney poked the ball through to Henry who returned the favour with the cut-back but his shot was tame and Lloris saved easily.

08:49 PM

62 minutes

Bit better from Brentford in the last few minutes, perhaps Spurs need some fresh legs up top. More composure and belief about Brentford on the ball, but Lloris is still to get his kit dirty tonight. Baptiste hooks a lovely ball into the box but Mbuemo could not win the header in the box.

08:47 PM

59 minutes

Brentford a struggling to create from open play but they are racking up these long throws. This time it drops for Jansson around the penalty spot but he blazed his effort well over. 68 per cent possession for Brentford in the last few minutes.

08:44 PM

55 minutes

Norgaard tries to squeeze a pass through for Toney but Reguilon cuts it out. Brentford keep some pressure on though with Goode going across to take the throw in. Spurs defend well and then Davinson Sanchez is fouled by Jansson. Frank is making a change: Onyeka off for Baptiste in midfield.

08:41 PM

53 minutes

Toney penalised for a foul on Davies. Tottenham's play down the left is a little loose and Goode sees the ball behind for a Brentford goal kick.

They live dangerously on the ball in their own defensive third, and Spurs pounce. Kane feeds the ball across the six-yard box but Reguilon can only find the side-netting from close-range. Spurs knocking at the door looking for a second.

08:39 PM

51 minutes

Fernandez saves from Kane! First big chance of the second half. Skipp striding forward and slipping a pass through to the striker in the left channel but the goalkeeper stood up to save well at the near post.

Spurs work another corner short, and once again Fernandez is in all kinds of problems under the high ball but he then catches Davies' header.

08:37 PM

49 minutes

Skipp keeps the ball well in the corner, before Lucas Moura knocks a pass around the corner for Davinson Sanchez who goes to ground like a felled tree in the penalty area. No penalty. Good football from Spurs to work their way out of their own defensive shape with one and two touch passing.

08:35 PM

47 minutes

Brentford looking to hit Mbuemo and and Toney early and it wins them some early territory. Goode is up to take a long throw from the left but it skips harmlessly through to Lloris. That enables Spurs to have their first spell of possession in the second half.

08:34 PM

We're back under way!

Tottenham get us going in the second half.

08:20 PM

HT: Tottenham 1 Brentford 0

A half of few chances but Spurs have looked very comfortable and sporadically dangerous when there is space to break into.

08:15 PM

44 minutes

Brentford's most threatening moments but finally Lloris claims to ease Spurs nerves. Kane with a poor defensive header, Norgaard hooked it back across goal but it was taken off the head of Mbuemo.

Excellent from Kane to spread play to Reguilon in space down the left but it was a tentative cross. Spurs had a corner through, and Fernandez was lucky to survive a weak punch.

08:12 PM

42 minutes

Lucas Moura turned down the chance to shoot at the edge of the area and then his attempted pass to Royal on his outside was loose. Home crowd getting slightly frustrated. Spurs stay in the Brentford half but then Reguilon overruns it and is met by Norgaard. Toney wins Brentford a throw on halfway before Henry wins one in Spurs territory.

08:10 PM

40 minutes

Spurs have the chance to deliver another corner, but Son's delivery was woeful and hits the shins of the first man.

The hosts are back on the ball though, but are not finding it easy to get through Brentford's pressure. That's been a feature of both team's play; they are almost matched up man to man with each other.

Kane's bisects Son and Skipp with a loose pass.

08:07 PM

37 minutes

Brentford had a long sequence of passes but the vast majority of them were between Goode, Jansson and Pinnock at the back. When Spurs get it back, Son drives forward well and forces Fernandez into a good save with a driving left-foot shot from 25 yards. Story of the half; Spurs carrying greater threat.

08:05 PM

35 minutes

The crowd love Skipp's sliding challenge to stop Brentford countering a Spurs counter-attack. Son looks to swing a ball to Emerson at the back post buy Henry wins the header before Goode heads back to Fernandez from another cross. Brentford have stayed in the game but do not look like scoring for toffee.

08:03 PM

33 minutes

That was good goalkeeping from Fernandez to rush off his line and claim a through ball before Emerson Royal reached it. But then another kick goes out for a Spurs throw-in in the Brentford half. The away team win it back though and Norgaard produces a nice piece of skill to win a foul.

08:01 PM

30 minutes

Spurs attacking with numbers but Brentford just about defend the crosses. Fernandez's kicking has been a source of problems once again for Brentford, a big downgrade on David Raya.

08:00 PM

The man who thought he had scored Tottenham's goal

Tottenham Hotspur's Ben Davies celebrates after Brentford's Sergi Canos scores an own goal and Tottenham Hotspur's first  - Reuters
Tottenham Hotspur's Ben Davies celebrates after Brentford's Sergi Canos scores an own goal and Tottenham Hotspur's first - Reuters

07:59 PM

27 minutes

Brentford got bodies forward there after Onyeka found space, Henry crossed for the opposite wing-back Canos whose side-foot volley was behind his team-mates. Brentford sustain the attack though to win a corner, but it does not get past Lucas Moura the the near post.

Mbuemo then goes for a dipping volley from distance from the next phase, but it was a few yards wide.

07:56 PM

25 minutes

Davinson Sanchez lets the ball run under his foot to groans from the home crowd, and it gives Brentford the chance to launch a long throw into the box. Lloris is yet to make a save of note. It comes to nothing. All a little too comfortable for the home team.

07:54 PM

23 minutes

A short stoppage in the game with Davinson Sanchez down holding his neck. The Spurs defender is soon back on his feet though and play resumes with him off the pitch. Good graft from Son to shut down Brentford's exit route down the right.

07:52 PM

21 minutes

Son wins a free-kick in a promising wide position. Dier almost met it unmarked with a glancing header but he did not get enough on it and Fernandez claims. Brentford looking a little shaky at the back.

07:50 PM

18 minutes

A statistic has just flashed up stating Antonio Conte has the second-highest win percentage of any manager in the Premier League era. Spurs are certainly trying to show more energy from the front out of possession. Norgaard catches Hojbjerg in midfield and concedes a foul.

Then Kane fed Royal on the right with a spectacular volleyed pass but the wing-back's cross was well behind Son who was in space centrally.

07:47 PM

The own goal which gave Tottenham the lead

07:46 PM

16 minutes

Can Brentford steady themselves and stay in this game? It was a fairly confident start from Thomas Frank's side but whichever way you cut it Spurs have a different level of quality in the top third. Not that the first goal exhibited it.

07:44 PM

GOAL! Spurs lead through some good fortune

From that corner, Spurs worked a short one with Reguilon and Son exchanging passes. Son whipped in an inswinger which was met by the head Jansson under pressure from Davies, but the Brentford man headed the ball against the back of Canos' head and it rebounded into the net. Canos own goal.

07:43 PM

13 minutes

That was a lovely idea from Eric Dier, tried to curl a 50 yard pass in behind Canos for Reguilon to chase and the Brentford man was forced to concede a corner.

07:41 PM

11 minutes

Some space for Son to receive the ball in midfield and run at the Brentford defence, he fed Kane in the left channel but Goode defender really well after the striker's touch was heavy. Then Toney skewed a cross out of play when Brentford threatened on the break. That was more lively.

07:39 PM

9 minutes

Reguilon tries a switch of play which does not make the journey. Then Hojbjerg gives the ball away cheaply in midfield before Sanchez ploughed through the back of Toney to concede a foul on halfway.

07:37 PM

6 minutes

The game is yet to settle into any real pattern. Brentford are certainly trying to be bold, looking to keep the ball and press Tottenham's defenders when possible.

After Lloris claimed a cross at one end, Spurs then attacked at pace and Lucas Moura's shot from a tight angle was acrobatically saved by Fernandez. Spurs corner. Another one taken short, but Brentford are alive to it.

07:34 PM

4 minutes

Spurs win an early corner after another Reguilon cross. Taken short, and Toney screens the front post well to head Son's cross behind. Tottenham are yet to score from a corner in 64 attempts in the Premier League this season.

Referee Moss comes across to have a word with Charlie Goode for grappling in the area. Brentford win the header and clear their lines.

07:32 PM

2 minutes

Brentford win some early territory straight from kick off but Reguilon is tucking in narrow to win the challenge and play back to Lloris.

Spurs begin to build play across their backline quite deliberately, but Brentford do well to box Sanchez and Dier in.

Reguilon provides an out-ball though, before Pinnock hammers Son's low cross away.

07:31 PM

KICK OFF!

Brentford get us started playing in yellow, kicking from left to right.

07:28 PM

Tottenham's stadium lit up in partnership with Stonewall

A general view of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium lit up in colours to show support for the Rainbow Laces campaign prior to the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brentford - Getty Images
A general view of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium lit up in colours to show support for the Rainbow Laces campaign prior to the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Brentford - Getty Images

07:27 PM

The players are in the tunnel

Tottenham have pulled out all the stops with the pre-match light show. Their fans will be hoping for better than last Thursday in Slovenia.

06:56 PM

Another team for Kane's list

Brentford will be the 31 st different team Tottenham striker Harry Kane has faced in the Premier League. He’s scored against each the previous 30 sides he’s faced in the competition, the only player with a 100% such record (min. 2 opponents).

06:53 PM

Conte on the 'biggest challenge' of his career at Spurs

"Biggest challenge, yes. But as I said in Mura, I'm not scared about this," he said ahead of Thursday's clash with Brentford.

"I have a lot of enthusiasm. When I arrive here, I enjoy the situation. I enjoy to work with the players, I enjoy to speak with the club, I enjoy to create a good base. Now the most important thing is this - to create a good base and then to build something important.

"We need a bit of time but I'm sure we can improve a lot and give satisfaction to our fans.

"But this is a big challenge for me. This is a big challenge for the club. This is a big challenge for the players. For everybody."

06:41 PM

Not an unchanged Spurs team, technically

From the win against Leeds, their last league match, Davidson Sanchez replaces Japhet Tanganga, while Oliver Skipp comes in for Harry Winks in midfield.

06:33 PM

Similar set-ups but with subtle variations

Looks to be more of a 3-4-3 for Tottenham with Lucas Moura and Son either side of Harry Kane, whereas Brentford have an extra midfield body and Toney and Mbuemo up front as a pair.

06:32 PM

Brentford XI: Unchanged from Everton win

06:31 PM

Tottenham XI: Conte picks the players who would have faced Burnley

05:30 PM

Tottenham look to have the chance to gain ground

Snow in Lancashire made it a football-free weekend for Antonio Conte's Tottenham but they have the chance to build some momentum with consecutive home games against Brentford and Norwich City this week.

With north London rivals Arsenal facing Manchester United this evening and West Ham hosting Chelsea on Saturday, it looks a presentable chance to gain ground in the Champions League race but they still need to do the business.

It has been something of a mixed bag so far for Conte, with two scratchy Conference League performances in Europe, a drab goalless draw at struggling Everton and a tale-of-two-halves win over Leeds United. The Italian admitted he has realised the scale of the task at hand and that the level at Spurs is currently 'not so high'.

Tottenham defender Cristian Romero has been ruled out until at least the New Year because of a hamstring injury. Giovani Lo Celso misses out again but he might be fit to return against Norwich on Sunday.

It will be a match up of similar systems against Thomas Frank's Brentford, who will likely put strike pair Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbuemo up against Tottenham's back three. Brentford slowed slightly after an impressive start but got back on a track with a home win over Everton on Sunday. They have lost just one of six Premier League away matches and their inventive set-pieces catch the eye.

Frank believes Toney can learn from Harry Kane's development.

“In this international world, you look across the world and see every kind of different strikers, but if you can look at your countrymen and then see one of the world’s best strikers in Kane, why not look at him?" he said.

“Of course Ivan needs to prove it on a consistent level. I think if you’re scoring plenty of goals in the Championship it shows you are a good striker.

“Then you turn to the next level, and he’s scored four so far for the season, so if you keep scoring a decent amount of goals and keep developing his game and keep staying hungry and open, I think he will keep developing and have his chance."

Full team news on the way shortly.

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