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English Premiership

Tottenham up to fifth after late win at Wolves

Jan Vertonghen’s late winner handed Tottenham a 2-1 win at Wolves © AFP / Paul ELLIS

WOLVERHAMPTON, United Kingdom, Dec 15Jan Vertonghen’s stoppage time header continued Tottenham’s turnaround under Jose Mourinho as Spurs moved up to fifth with a 2-1 win at Wolves.

Mourinho’s men were largely outplayed at Molineux, but were ruthless with their chances to inflict Wolves’ first league defeat in 12 games.

Adama Traore’s spectacular strike had cancelled out Lucas Moura’s early opener before Vertonghen stooped to guide home Christan Eriksen’s corner.

“Three incredible points. We coped with their spirit. At 1-1, Wolves are not a team satisfied with a point. But we knew if we arrive in the last part of the match we could score,” Mourinho said.

“Wolves are a fantastic team. This is a big victory. It is very difficult to control against them. Traore and Jota can kill you out of nothing, but we controlled parts of the game.”

Spurs can now move into the top four before Christmas if they beat Chelsea at home next weekend and Mourinho has his sights of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

“We went about a year without winning a Premier League game away and we’ve managed two in a short amount of time,” Mourinho added.

“Now we are not looking to the bottom of table, we’re looking higher up. This game is a special game because the opponent is a special opponent.”

That speaks volumes for the impact Mourinho has made in less than a month in charge as Tottenham trailed Chelsea and the top four by 12 points when he was appointed.

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Wolves drop to eighth as their longest unbeaten run in the top flight since 1962 came to an end, but there was little more Nuno Espirito Santo’s men could have done to at least avoid defeat.

After an industrious start by Wolves, it was Spurs who scored after eight minutes.

Son Heung-min’s drive was beaten away by Rui Patricio but the ball was worked to Moura, who glided into the area before rifling in high from an angle for his third goal in seven games under Mourinho.

Wolves remained undaunted though and after Paulo Gazzaniga gathered Traore’s low effort they began to create openings.

Diogo Jota was a menace and it was from his work Raul Jimenez nearly levelled after 26 minutes but his low effort flashed wide.

Soon after Jota was denied by the recovering Davinson Sanchez after the defender’s initial mistake allowed the forward through.

Wolves continued to dominate but should have been 2-0 down nine minutes before the break.

Referee Stuart Attwell played a good advantage after Moura was fouled to allow Eric Dier forward.

He played a cute one-two with Dele Alli to leave the midfielder with just Patricio to beat but his low strike hit the post.

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It would have been harsh on Wolves and they continued to push after the break.

Jota failed to turn in Traore’s cross and Gazzaniga pushed away Jimenez’s shot.

Spurs’ defence had lived dangerously, with Vertonghen in particular struggling against the pace of Traore.

Wolves finally got their reward on 67 minutes.

Traore had given the visitors problems all game and he made them pay, collecting Jimenez’s pass and unleashing a rocket which flew past Gazzaniga from 20 yards.

Tottenham then never looked like restoring their lead before the late drama.

Wolves remained the aggressors and Romain Saiss’ glancing header four minutes later forced Gazzaniga into a fine stop.

But Spurs silenced the hosts in the first minute of injury time when Vertonghen nodded in Eriksen’s corner.

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