Tottenham Hotspur shook off a difficult week with a confident 2-0 win over Brentford to climb into the top six on Thursday as new manager Antonio Conte enjoyed a second successive Premier League home victory.
Ben Davies’s header deflected off Brentford’s Sergi Canos to give the hosts an early lead and Son Heung-min underlined their superiority when he made it 2-0 in the 65th minute.
A week after an embarrassing Europa Conference League group stage defeat at Slovenian minnows NS Mura and four days after a fruitless trip to Burnley for a game postponed due to snow, Spurs produced their best 90 minutes under Conte.
A high-tempo display against Thomas Frank’s team should have brought more goals but it was a satisfactory night for Tottenham even if Harry Kane’s league scoring struggles continue.
Spurs have 22 points from 13 games while Brentford, who could have moved above their opponents with victory in the London derby, now sit in 12th place with 16 points.
This was a far more measured victory than Tottenham’s previous one at home against Leeds United.
In that game Tottenham, were appalling in the first half before responding with a much-improved second 45 minutes, while against Brentford they controlled the game throughout.
It was just the sort of response Conte would have demanded too after his harsh words following the last-gasp loss in Slovenia.
“It was a good performance against a dangerous team,” Conte said. “I’m happy because I have seen a great commitment and a good passion about the players.
“It’s a good reaction (after last week). In a loss you learn a lot but now we have to think about another Premier League game on Sunday (against Norwich City).
Tottenham were on the front foot from the start and Lucas Moura forced a good save from Alvaro Fernandez.
But the hosts did not have to wait long to go ahead as Son easily beat his marker on the left to deliver a cross that Davies headed goalwards and the ball came off Canos before hitting the back of the net.
Son almost made it 2-0 with a low shot that Fernandez pawed behind while Brentford, too slow in their build-up, did not manage to test Hugo Lloris before halftime.
Kane should have scored early in the second half when he was played in on goal but he delayed slightly too long and his shot was straight at Fernandez.
The striker has scored only one league goal this season and is being out-shone by strike partner Son.
Tottenham earned breathing space when Kane’s pass sent Sergio Reguilon free down the left and the Spanish full back galloped into the area before squaring for Son to tap in his fifth league goal of the season.
Brentford offered a little more threat late on but Tottenham’s defence was relatively untroubled.