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New backbone and Dele Alli’s knockout blows turn up brightness at Tottenham | David Hytner

Spurs’ 2-0 win over Chelsea was as impressive for the mature game management of Mauricio Pochettino’s side as Alli’s continued goalscoring exploits

Once again Tottenham Hotspur were in the last chance saloon against Chelsea. Lose on Wednesday and the damage to their Premier League title hopes would most likely have been fatal. This time, however, it did not descend into the equivalent of one of those scenes in which bodies are hurled across the tables and gunfire shatters the whisky bottles. Tottenham kept their cool and the 2-0 home win was notable for its comfort in the closing stages.

“It was not the first time we have played well against Chelsea,” Mousa Dembélé said. “But this time when we went in front, we did not panic. That was very important and it was the difference to the previous times we had played them. When we went in front in those games, we tried to change the way we were playing – we wanted to battle. But this time, we kept to our game and we played like adults. We were very relaxed.”

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