Tottenham bounced back from a difficult week that included a 3-1 derby defeat to Arsenal with a gritty 1-0 win on the road at Brighton to prove they are very much in contention for the top-four and beyond. Harry Kane glanced home the winner as he continued his eye-catching start to the campaign but there was nothing sexy about this ugly, hard-fought victory that will mean so much to Antonio Conte and his players following the passing of much-loved coach Gian Piero Ventrone.
Son Heung-min was the provider for the opener as his low cross that was goal-ward bound was met by the head of stopping England captain Kane, who was never going to miss after a sloppy spell of possession from the hosts.
Tottenham struggled to double their advantage though after wasting several promising openings on the counter-attack, as Spurs look to utilise the pace of Son.
The 30-year-old, who was subbed for Ivan Perisic, thought he added a second after the interval when he curled home beautifully with his left foot but the offside flag denied him the goal.
Kane took a nasty whack on the Achilles for his troubles late in the day when he put his leg across to block a Brighton strike at goal. After receiving treatment, he was subbed as he hobbled off the field.
Here are five things we learned from a feisty encounter at the Amex Stadium…
Kane in red-hot form
It may not seem like Harry Kane is in the form of his life but the statistics say otherwise.
His headed opener was his 12th goal in his last 12 Premier League outings, his joint-longest ever scoring streak in the top-flight as per Opta data.
Kane now has eight goals in nine Prem matches this season which is technically his best-ever start to a campaign as a notoriously slow-burner.
There was a spell where August was a real bogey patch for Kane but he has been firing right the way through to October for Spurs.
Even when he is not playing particularly well, he is still finding ways of scoring and influencing matches in typical Kane fashion.
He was even back to make a last-ditch tackle in the final minutes, taking a kick on the heel.
Matt Doherty has been waiting patiently for an opportunity that finally arrived at the Amex and it was a mixed bag for the Republic of Ireland international.
Going forward, he was a real outlet in the first half, making plenty of positive runs and always showing for the ball.
He even had a crack at goal as he looked to send a clear message to his manager by nailing down a spot in the starting XI.
Doherty has additional competition in the form of Djed Spence who is still waiting for his first chance to impress following his £20million move from Middlesbrough in the summer.
The former Wolves wing-back was still lacking some match sharpness though as expected as he misplaced several passes as Tottenham looked to transform defence into attack.
The role could be Doherty’s to lose now as Emerson Royal sees out his three-match suspension following his dismissal at Arsenal in the north London derby.
He made a fine interception late in the day to deny Brighton a vital opening in the box.
Tactical switch solidifies Spurs
Conte decided to switch things up and move away from his preferred 3-4-3 system – a change that has been anticipated for well over a week.
In came Yves Bissouma to add some extra mettle in the middle of the park alongside Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg which solidified Spurs.
Brighton are a dangerous side, as seen last week when they cut Liverpool to shreds to go 2-0 up at Anfield before later drawing 3-3.
The change of system certainly benefitted Tottenham as a whole, even if they lost a little something in attack.
Bissouma wasn’t at his best against his former employers, earning an early yellow card but Tottenham did limit Brighton to minimal chances.
Mitoma is Brighton’s super sub
There is something rather exciting about Brighton’s Japanese starlet Kaoru Mitoma, who was sent on loan to Tony Bloom’s Belgian side Union SG last season.
He was once again a real bright spark from the bench when he entered the fray in the second half, going on one brilliant mazy run that wreaked havoc amongst the Tottenham defence.
Mitoma was excellent last week too when he roasted Trent Alexander-Arnold on the far side of the Anfield turf, having a big hand in Leandro Trossard’s hat-trick goal.
The jet-heeled winger loves to run at players and every time he gets the ball, it looks like something could happen.
If Brighton can utilise his skillset more efficiently, he could be another astute signing for the Seagulls.
He already has five goals in nine outings for Japan and looks set to feature at November’s World Cup, which will only boost his confidence levels.
Son on free-kicks
Spurs fans have finally got their way with Son Heung-min now on free-kick duty for Conte’s side after a long wait.
The South Korean has netted a number of fine strikes from dead-ball situations while away on international duty and now he has taken over responsibilities for Tottenham after moving up the pecking order.
He stung the palms of Robert Sanchez in the opening exchanges of the game as Harry Kane and Eric Dier finally stepped aside.
The England international duo have been the ones over the ball so far this season but it appears their wastefulness has now come back to haunt them.
Last season’s Premier League Golden Boot winner will be looking to add more goals to his tally from free-kicks this season.