Tottenham supporters under the management of Ange Postecoglou always have an eventful experience. Despite a lackluster first half reminiscent of the days of José Mourinho and Antonio Conte, where they fell behind to Neal Maupay’s contentious goal, the manager’s decision to make two substitutions proved to be the turning point. In just eight minutes, Destiny Udogie, Brennan Johnson, and Richarlison scored three stunning goals to secure a comeback victory.
There was still time for more drama as Ivan Toney latched on to a comical backpass from Udogie to score his second goal in as many games since his comeback from a gambling ban and give Thomas Frank’s side hope. But with James Maddison back pulling the strings, it was all-action Tottenham who claimed the points to move above Aston Villa into fourth place, even if their manager was less than impressed with their “naive” first half.
“We found ourselves caught up in situations that do not align with our identity,” stated Postecoglou. “We were spending more time conversing with the referee rather than focusing on playing the game. There are moments when we are inexperienced and prioritize the wrong things, but it’s a necessary part of our development.”
The boys displayed resilience in their comeback. For 25 minutes in the second half, we played exceptionally well, showing our true potential as a team. It would have been understandable to feel defeated, but we didn’t let that happen.
The top spot in the standings belonged to Spurs with a five-point lead until Maddison’s last game on November 6th against Chelsea. However, a string of four losses in five games caused them to be caught up by their competitors.
Although he had to be substituted towards the end due to cramp, the English midfielder displayed his top form and played a crucial role in his team’s comeback. Johnson praised him, saying “He has that special something. Today was just a refresher for him.”
Brentford’s own comeback story 11 days ago featured Toney scoring a controversial free‑kick against Nottingham Forest and, after weathering an early storm as Maddison settled seamlessly into his playmaker role, the visitors began to offer a threat.
Tottenham Hotspur received early indications of trouble when Maupay was unable to handle a pass from Keane Lewis-Potter in a promising spot, and Mads Roerslev had a goal disallowed due to Mathias Jensen being deemed offside.
However, due to their five-man midfield’s cautious approach in exploiting Tottenham’s errors, it didn’t take long for another opportunity to arise. Udogie’s mistake in losing possession near the halfway line led to Toney having a chance, but his shot was aimed straight at Guglielmo Vicario and was not successful. Nevertheless, Maupay managed to score by scrambling the ball into the net despite slipping under pressure from Cristian Romero. In a seemingly disrespectful move, both Maupay and Toney imitated Maddison’s darts celebration to further aggravate the situation.
Timo Werner made a clever attempt that almost scored for the hosts, but it narrowly missed the near post. Richarlison also took a curling shot that just missed the goal. Maupay received a yellow card for a clash with Dejan Kulusevski. Toney had a great opportunity to make it 2-0 from Jensen’s free-kick, but his header went straight to Vicario. Postecoglou was seen walking to the tunnel at half-time, appearing lost in thought.
He quickly made a change by substituting two players. Oliver Skipp and Rodrigo Bentancur were taken off and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Johnson were put in their place. Kulusevski was also moved to the center of the field. This had an immediate effect.
Udogie combined with Werner down the left before finishing from a tight angle. Both were also instrumental in Tottenham’s second barely a minute later when the German picked out Johnson at the back post for the simplest of tap-ins.
Richarlison scored the third goal after Ethan Pinnock blocked Maddison’s shot, and the Brazilian successfully scored from a short distance. Brentford then found themselves struggling as Tottenham gained momentum and attacked with renewed confidence. Brentford’s coach, Frank, acknowledged a brief lapse in the beginning of the second half, but was proud of his team for staying in the game.
Toney missed yet another opportunity to give his team a chance to turn the game around, resulting in jeers from the home crowd. However, he took advantage when Udogie carelessly passed the ball directly to him while he was positioned near the penalty area, setting up an intense final period of play.
Tottenham did not settle for simply defending their lead. They continued to attack until the end of the game, hoping to score a fourth goal that ultimately did not happen. If substitute Shandon Baptiste had not missed his shot in injury time, the outcome could have been different.