Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas believes his team have made a full recovery from their mauling by Manchester City after they beat Sunderland to reassert themselves in the hunt for Champions League places.
The 6-0 loss at the Etihad Stadium on November 24 sparked suggestions Villas-Boas could be close to losing his job, but his team have reacted impressively and with their 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light today they climbed to sixth in the Barclays Premier League, three points off second place.
A close-range Paulinho strike and a John O’Shea own goal allowed Tottenham to recover from the jolt of going behind to Adam Johnson’s powerful finish.
“The players were absolutely outstanding,” said Villas-Boas on Sky Sports 1.
“They achieved a great, great win. I think the result is entirely deserved and puts us back on track near the top where we wanted to be.
“It’s a great win for Tottenham and a great fightback from the Manchester City result.”
As Villas-Boas pointed out, Tottenham have made a flying start to December, holding Manchester United before posting back-to-back wins at Fulham and Sunderland.
“We’re already seven points into December from two away fixtures and Manchester United at home,” he said.
“We came back from a very, very difficult situation, not only from the scoreline (in the defeat to Manchester City) but also the league position.
“It was important for us to put ourselves back on track.”
Defender Michael Dawson was similarly satisfied with the result and Tottenham’s upturn in form.
“We’ve had a big game at Fulham, then today at Sunderland – two tough places to come. Both teams were fighting for survival and we’ve had big performances and massive results,” he said.
“It shows the determination and the togetherness we’ve got.
“We’ve bounced back from a disappointing result at Manchester City. We took a lot of criticism.
“We had a home game against Man United – we could have won it – and then we’ve had two away games.
“To win, it’s a massive, massive boost for the boys.
“When you lose 6-0 it’s not great, but we’ve showed character in the camp. We’re all together, we’re fighting for a Champions League spot, and we’ve showed a few people we’re together, we can perform and win football matches.”
* Don’t miss tomorrow’s action-packed Football Echo, with the biggest and best coverage of SAFC.