London, United Kingdom | AFP | Tottenham needed a late winner from Son Heung-min to snap a four-game winless streak in the Premier League and breathe new life into their push for a top-four finish with a 2-1 victory over Norwich on Wednesday.
The South Korean’s stooping header 11 minutes from time hauled Jose Mourinho’s men within six points of fourth-placed Chelsea, but another uninspired performance did little to suggest they are capable of chasing down Mourinho’s old club.
Dele Alli’s opener ended a three-game run without even scoring in the league for Spurs, but Teemu Pukki’s penalty 20 minutes from time deservedly levelled for bottom-of-the-table Norwich.
And the Canaries were left to rue a host of other missed chances as they remain six points off safety.
Spurs’ struggle for goals of late has coincided with the loss of Harry Kane for the majority of what remains of the season after surgery on a hamstring injury.
Real Sociedad’s Willian Jose was the latest striker linked with a move to north London before kick-off and Mourinho’s desire for a new forward before the end of the January window will not have been eased by what he saw against the weakest defence in the division.
Tim Krul was forced into the first save of the game by Erik Lamela’s acrobatic effort, but Norwich enjoyed most of the strikes at goal as Pukki and Todd Cantwell fired just off target.
Spurs finally broke their duck of not scoring in the league in 2020 when Serge Aurier’s cross picked out Alli to slide in and convert at the near post seven minutes before half-time.
Thereafter, Norwich had the better chances and can count themselves unlucky not to pick up at least a point in their battle for survival.
The visitors did survive a scare when Cantwell escaped with just a yellow card after a lengthy VAR review for a studs-up challenge on Giovani lo Celso.
Pukki then fired inches wide from the edge of the area and both Cantwell and the Finnish striker failed to turn in Sam Byram’s dangerous cross from point-blank range.
Mourinho turned to Christian Eriksen off the bench in the search for control of the game despite the Dane seemingly being in the final stages of securing a move to Inter Milan.
However, Eriksen’s presence made little difference as Norwich finally got their rewards 20 minutes from time when Ryan Sessegnon tripped Max Aarons inside the penalty area.
Mourinho was able to start Hugo Lloris in goal for the first time since taking charge as the Frenchman returned from a three-and-a-half month absence due to a dislocated elbow.
But Lloris will have been disappointed as he got a hand to Pukki’s poor penalty but could not keep it out.
The home crowd were growing restless as Norwich continued to pour forward as Ondrej Duda failed to pick out an unmarked Pukki in the penalty area.
However, a kind break of the ball bailed Tottenham out as Alli’s shot looped high into the air of Christoph Zimmermann over Krul and into the path of Son to nudge the ball over the line with his head.