Harry Kane was on target as Tottenham won 1-0 at Brighton in Roberto De Zerbi’s first home match in charge of the Seagulls.
The England hitman opened the scoring when he flicked a header beyond Robert Sanchez from Son Heung-Min’s driven cross on 22 minutes.
Spurs made a fast start after several players – alongside coach Antonio Conte – appeared highly emotional during a pre-match minute of applause in tribute to fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone who sadly passed away earlier in the week.
Brighton improved as the half wore on and went close through Danny Welbeck and Lewis Dunk.
The hosts huffed and puffed for an equaliser in the second period but Spurs always looked the more likely with Kane going close to a second with a flick header just wide.
The result sees Spurs strengthen their hold on third place, just three points adrift of leaders Manchester City. Brighton drop to sixth.
Next up, the Lilywhites host Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League on Wednesday night before a home clash with Everton on Saturday. Brighton visit Brentford on Friday night.
TALKING POINT – SPURS PROVIDE PERFECT TRIBUTE AND KEEP PACE AT THE TOP
It was always going to be an emotional day for Tottenham following the news of Ventrone’s death. The players sported t-shirts in the warm-up that read: ‘Always in our hearts Gian Piero’ and they were clearly moved when his image appeared on the big screen in the tribute ahead of kick off.
They went on to provide a spirited display full of togetherness that was an even better way to pay their respects to their former fitness coach, with Hugo Lloris carrying a shirt with his name on to the away end, who sung his name, at the full-time whistle.
The win also keeps Spurs very much involved at the summit and is a positive way to bounce back in the league following the North London derby defeat to Arsenal.
As for Brighton, there was no winning home start for De Zerbi, who will be pleased with his side’s effort but disappointed with how they were unable to truly trouble Lloris, particularly in the second half.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – HARRY KANE (TOTTENHAM)
Once again the striker made a decisive contribution with his eighth Premier League goal of the season. His invention when dropping off almost created further goals for his teammates and Spurs always looked the more likely to conjure up a moment of magic when he was involved.
BRIGHTON: Sanchez 7, Veltman 7, Dunk 7, Webster 7, March 6, Caicedo 6, Mac Allister 6, Estupinan 6, Gross 6, Trossard 6, Welbeck 6. Subs: Mitoma 7, Lallana n/a, Gilmour n/a, Lamptey n/a.
SPURS: Lloris 7, Romero 7, Dier 7, Davies 7, Doherty 8, Hojbjerg 6, Bentancur 7, Bissouma 6, Sessegnon 8, Kane 8, Son 6. Subs: Richarlison 6, Perisic n/a, Skipp n/a.
13’ – TOTTENHAM CHANCE! Doherty miscues a half volley over the top after arriving late at the far post to meet Sessegnon’s deep cross.
22’ – GOAL! – Brighton 0-1 Tottenham. Kane diverts Son’s driven ball in from the right with a smart header after Brighton had failed to fully clear a right-wing corner.
36’ – BRIGHTON CHANCE! Dunk rises well inside a packed penalty box but nods his header from a left-wing corner just over the bar.
62’ – TOTTENHAM CHANCE! Kane rolls Dunk but drills just wide from the right side of the penalty area.