Five observations from Tottenham's feisty 1-0 win at Stoke City

Tim Sherwood Press Conference Smiling 12/02/2014

Spurs tightened their hold on the final Europa League spot with a 1-0 win at the Britannia Stadium, Danny Rose heading the only goal.

When Danny Rose plays like this, he looks a genuine left back option

The young fullback had an excellent game for Tottenham, and suggested he may yet be the solution on the left side of the defence. Marrying his undoubted forward play with some successful defensive interceptions, Rose also found himself the match winner, unbelievably scoring a header against this giant Stoke team. Rose has to put together a dozen performances of this level to ensure the club aren't tempted to replace him with a more experienced player. Having said all that, he did demonstrate that he is prone to anger, lashing out after the entire stadium jumping on his back once Ryan Shawcross had correctly been sent off for fouling him.

Michael Dawson impressed at the back on his return

It has only been the last few games away from the first team that has indicated that despite many supporter's reservations, Michael Dawson is a vital part of this Spurs defence. No other player has the aerial presence or organisational skills of the former Nottingham Forest man, and his return against Stoke ensured a much improved defensive performance and a first clean sheet in 8 matches. One of the defenders in that game was, you guessed it, Dawson. 

Stoke showed Spurs how to defend with 10 men

Too many times this year, Tottenham have seen one of their players dismissed against a top team before going on to capitulate and losing 4-5 nil. Stoke demonstrated the exact attitude needed to ensure this doesn't happen, dominating the game once they lost a man. Whether it was a sense of injustice regarding the decision to send off Shawcross or just the players' natural attitude, they harried and hassled the entire Spurs team and created more than enough chances to equalise. 

Aaron Lennon looked a long way off top form

The flying winger has had an indifferent season, with some good early season performances under AVB giving way to some very flat showings recently under Sherwood. Against Stoke his close control left a lot to be desired, with several moves breaking down purely as a result of his poor touch. Lennon had one really good shooting chance that he touched into the path of a defender, and he was just lucky that the side weren't made to pay for such missed opportunities.

Sherwood showed good and bad management skills

With many having questioned his credentials this season, Sherwood made some smart decisions over the course of the game. Taking off Danny Rose, who was suffering plenty of abuse after Shawcross' red, was sensible, as was the choice of Michael Dawson pack in the centre of defence. However, his refusal to bring on Sandro when the side were under real pressure reeked of cutting off his nose to spite his face, while his inability to get Spurs to take advantage playing against 10 men was ironic considering the hidings the Londoners have been on the end of when they've suffered a dismissal.

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