Christian Eriksen double helps Spurs thrash struggling Sunderland
A Christian Eriksen brace saw Tottenham come from behind to beat struggling Sunderland and reaffirm their own top-four Barclays Premier League ambitions.
Sam Allardyce's side headed to White Hart Lane on the back of a morale-boosting win at Swansea on Wednesday and took the lead through Patrick van Aanholt's second goal in a week.
But Eriksen levelled just 91 seconds later before Mousa Dembele put Spurs ahead after the break, with Eriksen's second and a Harry Kane penalty - the first deflected off Sunderland debutant Jan Kirchhoff, who then conceded the spot-kick - wrapping up a 4-1 victory for Mauricio Pochettino's side.
Spurs had lost here to a late Leicester goal in midweek but recovered after falling behind as their quest for Champions League football continued.
Kane came close in the opening stages but his low effort was tipped behind by Premier League debutant Jordan Pickford in the Sunderland goal.
Dele Alli then blazed wildly over from inside the box as Danny Rose's shot deflected to the England midfielder but Allardyce's men were almost architects of their own demise 10 minutes before the break.
Jeremain Lens was robbed by Dembele on the edge of the Spurs box, with the Belgium international breaking at pace across the halfway line.
With several options he picked out Erik Lamela, whose subsequent shot across goal flew wide of the target as Sunderland's defence laboured to get back in time.
But it was the visitors who took the lead before the break as Adam Johnson's neat pass took out the back-tracking Alli and allowed Van Aanholt to finish coolly past Hugo Lloris from close range.
Spurs reacted immediately from the restart as Kane broke through and saw his shot saved by Pickford, only for Eriksen to finish from the rebound as Lee Cattermole somehow failed to clear a tame strike.
The game had certainly come to life and Jermain Defoe tested Lloris with a low shot from a free-kick on the edge of the box after Lens had been felled.
The former Tottenham favourite then came close after the restart as an attempt at a clever set-piece routine from Spurs ended in Sunderland breaking clear, with Defoe firing into the side-netting having been released by Adam Johnson.
Alli headed Lamela's tempting cross wide as both sides started to find more openings in the early stages of the second half, with Pickford again a match for Kane as he struck from outside the box.
The England Under-21 international made his Sunderland bow at Arsenal in the FA Cup last week and was showing here why Allardyce is willing to put faith in him.
He pushed away a Rose shot on the hour mark but could do nothing as Dembele's low strike flashed past him from the rebound.
And he was again helpless as Eriksen grabbed his second of the game seven minutes later, the Dane's long-range effort taking a huge deflection off Kirchhoff - who had only just come off the bench to make his Sunderland debut.
Kane's frustrating afternoon continued as Pickford pushed away yet another effort but he finally got his goal after Kirchhoff's debut to forget continued as he tripped Rose in the penalty area, with the England striker thrashing home the resulting penalty.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
.@BorisJohnson can you clarify if it is allowed by transport for London for Sunderland to park a bus in Tottenham - Lord Sugar (@Lord_Sugar) on Sunderland's defensive start to the match
Hugo Lloris: 6
Kieran Trippier: 7
Toby Alderweireld: 6
Jan Vertonghen: 6
Danny Rose: 7
Eric Dier: 7
Mousa Dembele: 8
Christian Eriksen: 7
Dele Alli: 6
Erik Lamela: 6
Harry Kane: 6
Jordan Pickford: 7
Billy Jones: 6
John O'Shea: 5
Wes Brown: 5
Patrick van Aanholt: 7
Lee Cattermole: 5
Yann M'Vila: 6
Adam Johnson: 6
Danny Graham: 6
Jeremain Lens: 5
Jermain Defoe: 5
Jack Rodwell: 5
Jan Kirchhoff: 3
Mousa Dembele: A first start of 2016 for the Belgium midfielder and he was the driving force in a Tottenham midfield which helped seal a comeback victory. His ability to have an impact in both halves of the pitch was clear and he scored the all-important second.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Christian Eriksen: His equaliser came just 91 seconds after Van Aanholt had given the visitors an unlikely lead and, although it was rather fortuitous it set Tottenham on their way to another three points.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Pochettino rotated his full-backs once again but it was his recall of Dembele into his midfield which will please him more than anything. Allardyce will not have liked the way his side gave up their lead and then capitulated in the second half.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Jan Kirchhoff: The Sunderland defender, signed from Bayern Munich in the week, showed why he was allowed to l eave the German giants with a largely inept debut having replaced Graham with the scores still level.
His feeble attempt to block Eriksen's shot from distance saw the ball loop past Pickford via a deflection before he tripped Rose in the area for Kane to add the fourth from the spot.
WHO'S UP NEXT
Leicester v Tottenham (FA Cup, January 20)
Sunderland v Bournemouth (Barclays Premier League, January 23)
"I'm very pleased with the performance. It was a great effort from the players," Pochettino said on BT Sport 1. "I think 1-1 (at half-time) was unfair - we deserved more. It happens in football. It was difficult to play in the space.
"We tried to fix some problems at half-time. Our reaction was fantastic. The second half was good. We have the capacity to score. On the 90 minutes we deserved it - it's a fair result."
Asked about any possible transfer activity at White Hart Lane this month, the Argentinian said: "I think not too much. The squad we have, we have quality enough, good balance. If we can add some players that can improve our squad, we are open. But we have a very good balance. We want to keep this level of the changing room."
Allardyce was left to ponder what might have been.
He said: "The big problem today was letting them score (so soon) after we did. I thought we'd done most things right defensively. Shooting yourself in the foot for me was them kicking off and scoring. Going in (at half-time) at 1-0 would've really lifted us.
"As the game wore on, we got more and more tired. I could see the energy in the players was diminishing. In the end we got beat by what is a very, very good team. Obviously the goals we gave them were a little too easy. We should've kept it tighter after they went into the lead, and tried to play our way into the game and not chase it."
On Kirchhoff's debut to forget, Allardyce said: "It's coming into the Premier League for the first time. He's found out how difficult it is. We've got to get him on at some stage - it's always a risk. He has to learn from it quickly. We all know that when we bring in players from abroad."
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