Ayoze Perez was thrilled to fire Newcastle United out of the Premier League’s relegation zone yesterday.
Perez scored an injury-time goal to give the Tynesiders a 2-1 win at Tottenham, ending Spurs’ unbeaten Premier League run stretching back to the opening day of the season.
Aleksandar Mitrovic, Perez’s fellow substitute, had earlier cancelled out Eric Dier’s first-half strike at White Hart Lane.
The result lifted Steve McClaren’s relegation-threatened Magpies, who trailed 1-0 at the break, up to 15th in the table.
It was Newcastle’s third successive Premier League win at Spurs, and Perez replicated his feat last season, when he scored a second-half goal to give Newcastle a victory by the same score.
“It happened again, so I’m really happy to get the winning goal,” said former Tenerife striker Perez.
“It’s important for us to climb the table. I’m really happy for this win.”
Tottenham had deservedly led at the break, but the changes – with Mitrovic and Perez coming off the bench – made at the interval saw Newcastle go on to dominate the second half.
“In the second half, we were better than them,” said 22-year-old Perez.
“That made the difference. We changed a few things at half time. I think that’s why we won the game.”
Boss Steve McClaren, delighted with a second successive win, building on last weekend’s victory over Liverpool, hailed the reaction of his two goalscorers to being left out of the starting line-up.
McClaren said: “All you ask for from players is to give a response.
“If you’re on the bench, you want an impact. In the last two weeks Ayoze and Mitro have not played, so they’re disappointed. You can be disappointed and come on and not perform.
“They were disappointed, but came on and showed they wanted to play (and) changed the game – well, not changed the game, because I thought we were growing into the game anyway.
“But they’ve won the game for us. It shows what an immense talent they are, both of them. They’re still inexperienced, and that has shown this season, but this will do them both and the team a world of good.”
McClaren backed his players for finally finding their voices.
“Half-time was a big, big test for this team,” said McClaren.
“I thought we’d competed well and were really disappointed and angry with the goal. The players at half-time were great. It was a win for the player, this. They were terrific at half-time.
“I’ve come in at half time before and the dressing room has been quiet and disappointed.
“But it was so vocal, and there was such a determination amongst the players not to lead down the normal path of losing the game.
“The response in the second half was fantastic. I think we grew, got stronger and deserved the win.”
Asked who the “big voices” were in the dressing room, McClaren added: “To be fair, there was so much going on.
“Robbie Elliot, (Fabricio) Coloccini – to be fair all of them, all of them.
“Everybody took it on board, and that is the pleasing thing for me.”
Tottenham dictated possession early on but found Newcastle difficult to break down and they were grateful to Papiss Cisse in the opening five minutes when he blocked Siem De Jong’s goalbound shot.
It took 36 minutes for Spurs to carve out their first real chance.
Tom Carroll’s clever ball through released Danny Rose, who cut back to Erik Lamela, but the Argentinian’s bending finish was palmed wide by Rob Elliot.
Elliot was called into action again two minutes later and again it was Lamela he denied, as the winger latched on to Harry Kane’s flicked header but saw his snap half-volley fly straight at the Newcastle goalkeeper.
From the resulting corner, however, Spurs did break the deadlock as Fabricio Coloccini let Dier run free and the midfielder jumped above Moussa Sissoko at the near post to head home his third goal of the season.
Suddenly Tottenham looked more threatening and they almost doubled their lead before half-time when Christian Eriksen’s shot fell fortuitously into the path of Rose – but the ex-Sunderland loanee’s stinging drive evaded both the far post and Kane sliding in.
On the restart, the visitors were faster on the ball than Tottenham and sharper in their pressing, and in the 73rd minute they equalised when Chancel Mbemba’s header was poked in on the line by Mitrovic after Toby Alderweireld and Hugo Lloris failed to clear.
Both sides pushed forward late on in search of a winner and Newcastle went close when Sissoko’s fizzing cross was almost converted by Mitrovic, but the forward was just unable to reach it.
Spurs failed to heed the warnings and Perez made them pay when he sneaked inside Jan Vertonghen before half-volleying past Lloris at the near post to snatch all three points.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Carroll (Son 69), Lamela (Chadli 86), Alli, Eriksen, Kane. Subs not used: Bentaleb, Vorm, Trippier, Onomah, Davies. Booked: Carroll, Rose. Goal: Dier 39.
Newcastle: Elliot, Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Dummett, Sissoko, Anita (Gouffran 90), Colback, Wijnaldum, De Jong (Perez 63), Cisse (Mitrovic 72). Subs not used: Thauvin, Darlow, Sterry, Mbabu. Booked: Colback, Perez . Goals: Mitrovic 74, Perez 90. Att: 35,768. Ref: Roger East (Wiltshire).