Mauricio Pochettino salutes Tottenham's returning World Cup stars

Tuesday, 14 Aug, 2018

Dele Alli scored a first-half victor as Tottenham beat Newcastle 2-1 on the opening weekend of the Premier League season at St James' Park.

But Spurs held on for a much-needed three points after recent criticism for not making a signing this summer, and the result means Newcastle, whose fans protested against owner Mike Ashley in the city centre before the game, are without an opening-day victory since 2012.

Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs were rarely at their fluent best - fatigue possibly a factor for the five World Cup semi-finalists in his starting XI - and Mohamed Diame and new signing Salomon Rondon were denied by post and crossbar as Newcastle chased a second equaliser in vain.

Tottenham Hotspur's English midfielder Dele Alli (R) watches as Newcastle United's Slovakian goalkeeper Martin Dubravka saves his shot during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on August 11, 2018.

"Everyone else, back here at Tottenham we got to the [FA Cup] semifinal previous year but we need to go that one step further and win".

"It's very important for the rest of the season to build momentum from the start", Alli said following Spurs' win at St James' Park.

"Every season since I've been here I feel as though we've improved, but we want to start winning things", he said. We need to deal with that and help the players to be in a very good shape and then to help the team. I am happy in the way the players arrived after the holidays, and Dele was one of them.

"Everyone has been so excited about the prospect of playing in the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and I know all at the Club are very disappointed, but determined to clear this final hurdle", league vice president of worldwide Mark Waller said.

Spurs took an eighth-minute lead after goalline technology proved that Jan Vertonghen's header had crossed the line but it was short-lived as Joselu headed in from a sumptuous Matt Ritchie cross.

"Of course I am not going to complain, it is only we need to take this, be clever and learn and all work together again this week".

Alli heads home what proved to be the victor at St James' Park. The home side worked hard until the final whistle and were arguably the better team after half-time, hitting the woodwork twice.

He said: "Could this be the reason we've seen a quiet summer window by normal standards?"