After their 1-0 victory at Luton, Ange Postecoglou praised 10-man Tottenham but claimed that their position atop the Premier League in October was unproductive.
Following James Maddison’s cut-back in the 52nd minute, Micky van de Ven scored his first goal for the team, helping Spurs to a tenacious performance that earned them all three points at Kenilworth Road.
The challenge for Tottenham was made much more difficult when Yves Bissouma was sent for two bookable offenses near the conclusion of the first half, the second yellow card for simulation, but Postecoglou’s men resisted late Luton pressure.
I felt we played some excellent football in the first half, but there were two very different halves. We certainly should have been two or three up, but I thought it was as well as we’ve played,” Postecoglou said.
“The red card obviously impacts the outcome of the game, but once again, I think the guys handled it incredibly well. Both of them maintained their composure.
“In the end, it was just their sheer determination and effort to ensure that we won; not just the starters but the guys coming on, it was a great collective effort,” said the coach.
“Biss screwed up. He has performed admirably for us this year. He erred, but the positive thing is how he handles these situations.
“His teammates made sure that error didn’t cost us, and when Biss rejoins the squad, I have no doubt that he will pay it forward and make sure that no matter what happens, he can lead us to victory.
“I always consider how these things will be received. How are we addressing it? The response, in my opinion, was excellent.
Spurs’ victory allowed them to pass Manchester City at the top of the Premier League standings while the league winners were playing Sunday against last season’s runners-up Arsenal.
Tottenham would remain in first place for the international break if they drew at the Emirates Stadium, but Postecoglou downplayed their standing despite their best start to a top-flight season since the club’s 1960–61 double-winning campaign.
I don’t think you read too much, he continued. They are not ignorant; they are aware that it is just October and that the fact that we are now leading the league means little more than the fact that the season has started nicely.
They aren’t sitting there believing that we have accomplished anything, after all. We haven’t made any progress. We have only laid some excellent foundations.
Our aspirations and goals are improvement. Can we perform better? Can we improve as a team? We’ll follow that if we do, and see where it leads.
Rob Edwards, the manager of Luton, was disappointed that despite another solid performance, no points were scored.
Spurs started impressively and could have been 3-0 up inside 10 minutes but Richarlison sliced over from close range before Thomas Kaminski saved another effort by the Brazilian and Pedro Porro rolled wide when one-on-one.
Tottenham remained on top until Bissouma’s red card when he went down under close proximity to Marvelous Nakamba, but there had been no contact and referee John Brooks showed the visiting midfielder a second yellow card.
The clash played in front of a partisan Kenilworth Road crowd hinged on a crucial five minutes after half-time when Elijah Adebayo could not convert Chiedozie Ogbene’s dangerous cross from the right in the 47th minute.
Soon after Van de Ven tapped home when Maddison spun away from Alfie Doughty and picked out the Dutch defender in the six-yard box.
“We had a huge opportunity, a massive chance we didn’t take and we’ve been punished for it because we switched off for the short corner. Those two moments are big in the game,” Edwards reflected.
“They are top of the Premier League, they will have chances and we are new to it. I was really pleased with a lot of what I saw, but I am really disappointed and flat as well.”