Harry Kane ended a five-game goal drought as Tottenham secured a much-needed 2-1 win for manager Mauricio Pochettino at Brighton on Saturday.
Spurs travelled to the soggy south coast on the back of three straight defeats for the first time since the Argentine took charge in 2014.
But they bounced back to move back up to fifth in the Premier League, still six points adrift of leaders Liverpool.
Like many of his team-mates, England captain Kane has looked jaded from his heroics in winning the Golden Boot at the World Cup in recent weeks.
But he remains deadly from the spot as he hammered home his third goal of the season and Erik Lamela doubled Tottenham’s lead before Anthony Knockaert pulled a late goal back for Brighton.
Pochettino hit out at journalists for lacking “respect” when questioning his decision to leave Kieran Tripper and Toby Alderweireld at home for Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Inter Milan in the Champions League.
Both were recalled among five changes from the side that lost at the San Siro and had a big impact.
Alderweireld’s powerful header from Trippier’s corner was brilliantly saved by Mat Ryan early on.
But despite Tottenham’s dominance in possession, the Australian international goalkeeper wasn’t forced into another save until Spurs took the lead three minutes before half-time.
Referee Chris Kavanagh pointed to the spot when Glenn Murray jumped with his arm above his head to block Trippier’s free-kick and Kane sent Ryan the wrong way from the spot.
– Sucker punch –
Spurs threw away a lead late on in losing at Watford and Inter in their previous three games, though, and could easily have been made to pay once more but for some poor Brighton finishing.
Pochettino insisted his side must improve on defending set-pieces after conceding four of their last six goals from dead balls and were nearly caught out again when Shane Duffy bundled home only to be flagged for offside.
Seconds later Knockaert had Brighton’s best chance to level, but fired straight at Paulo Gazzaniga with just Spurs’ third-choice ‘keeper to beat.
Just as Brighton were threatening to level, Spurs hit them with the sucker punch of a well-worked second goal.
Lamela started and finished the move as the Argentine fed Lucas Moura on the left and Danny Rose pulled his pass into the area for the midfielder to find the bottom corner.
Kane could even have added to his tally as three times Ryan repelled fiercely driven shots from Spurs’ talisman in the closing stages.
And Knockaert set up a grandstand finish with the sort of finish he should have produced earlier by firing into the far corner in stoppage time.
Knockaert had one final chance to snatch a point, but placed his shot too close to Gazzaniga as Pochettino blew a big sigh of relief at the full-time whistle.