LONDON (AFP) – Harry Kane scored his first goals at Tottenham’s new stadium as Spurs came from behind to beat newly-promoted Aston Villa 3-1 last Saturday night.
However, the England captain paid tribute to Christian Eriksen’s impact as a second-half substitute to prevent last season’s Champions League finalists suffering an opening day shock.
Tottenham trailed to John McGinn’s early opener when Eriksen was introduced off the bench by Mauricio Pochettino 25 minutes from time.
The Denmark midfielder’s future is far from clear after a summer of speculation linking him with a move to Spain as he has just one year left on his contract.
However, Eriksen certainly did not appear lacking in commitment as he immediately offered the cutting edge Spurs had lacked for the first hour.
“We know the quality he has on the ball, his assists, his goals,” said Kane.
“He dictates the pace of the game and for me it’s perfect. I can make my little movements off that.”
Eriksen played his part as club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele sparked the fightback by curling home the equaliser 17 minutes from time.
His cross was turned goalwards by Davinson Sanchez and after Tom Heaton made a brilliant save, the rebound was worked back to Ndombele who curled home from the edge of the area.
“Adding Christian fresh in the second-half with the quality Christian has helped the team to achieve the victory. We are talking about top quality players,” said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, who took responsibility for his side’s lacklustre first-half display.
“We were a bit confused and that is my fault, I’m the manager, but we made a lot of mistakes and didn’t work well in the first-half.
“In the second-half we fixed the problems, our positional game was completely different and we moved the ball better. It’s very important for us to start with a victory, but we have a lot of work to do.”
Villa spent more than GBP100 million on 12 new recruits over the summer to try and stabilise themselves as a Premier League force again after three seasons in the second tier.
And there were plenty of promising signs for Dean Smith’s men, particularly in the first 45 minutes, before they wilted under Spurs’ relentless second-half pressure.
McGinn burst through and kept a cool head to leave Danny Rose on the floor before firing into the bottom corner to open the scoring.
And the visitors could even have been further ahead had one of their new recruits Trezeguet been more clinical at the end of a couple of promising counter-attacks.
“We were really competitive in the first-half and scored a good goal,” said Smith.
“But they reached the Champions League final for a reason so we knew it was going to be a tough one.
“You look at Tottenham’s physicality and I thought that was the difference in the last 20 minutes of the game.
“We know about their quality but physically they’re very strong and we kept giving it away. Ultimately it became a hard game for us in the second-half.”
Tottenham ramped up the pressure after half-time, but had to wait till Eriksen was introduced to breakthrough.
Only another brilliant save from Heaton denied Eriksen scoring the winner himself 10 minutes fro time with a thumping strike from a free-kick.
However, Heaton was helpless four minutes from time when the ball broke Kane’s way and he hammered the ball home to break his duck at Tottenham’s new home.
And within four minutes he had a second with a trademark finish curled low beyond Heaton into the far corner.