Erling Haaland added Luton to his collection to ensure he has still scored against every opponent he has faced in the Premier League.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the prolific Norway international’s Manchester City record.

Full house

Chelsea, Liverpool and Brentford were the only teams not to concede to Haaland in his astonishing debut season in England, when he won the Premier League Golden Boot with 36 goals in 33 games.

He ticked off Chelsea and Liverpool in successive league games either side of November’s international break and, having failed to score in this season’s first meeting with the Bees, had to wait until February’s postponed return fixture to complete the set of 21 opponents he had faced.

Having missed December’s fixture against Luton while injured, they were not among that number – despite February’s five-goal FA Cup onslaught – so his penalty in Saturday’s 5-1 win extended his perfect record to 22 opponents.

Haaland now has 56 goals in 61 Premier League appearances.

Favourite opponents

Haaland’s highest Premier League tally against any opponent is six goals, against derby rivals Manchester United. He followed up last season’s hat-trick at the Etihad Stadium with a double at Old Trafford and another home goal this term.

Fulham and Crystal Palace follow, with five goals in three games against each, with hat-tricks at home to Palace last season and Fulham this.

He has four goals in three games against each of Everton, Nottingham Forest, West Ham and Wolves, with hat-tricks against Forest and Wolves last season.

He has three against both Brighton and Southampton and has scored in every league appearance against Fulham, Everton, West Ham, Palace (three games each, with Fulham and West Ham still to play again this season), Saints (two games), Leicester and Sheffield United (one).

Record books

Harry Kane also scored against every Premier League opponent he faced, a total of 32 clubs, during his time with Tottenham – a brief loan at Norwich early in his career did not yield any of his eventual 213 goals in the competition.

Frank Lampard holds the record for scoring Premier League goals against the most clubs overall, with his 39 one more than Andy Cole, but neither player scored against every opponent they faced.

Third on that list with 37 opponents is the league’s record scorer Alan Shearer, whose 20 goals against Leeds is the most by one player against a single opponent.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has warned Newcastle they would have to start again if they sold star striker Alexander Isak this summer.

The 24-year-old Sweden international, the Magpies’ £63million record signing, has been linked with both Arsenal and Tottenham in recent weeks amid the perception that the Saudi-backed club may have to trade to comply with profit and sustainability rules.

Isak enhanced his blossoming reputation further with a superb double in a 4-0 Premier League victory over Champions League-chasing Spurs at St James’ Park on Saturday to take his tally for an injury-interrupted season to 21.

Asked about the need to retain his services, head coach Howe said: “We are trying to build a team, we are trying to grow everything, really, upwards and to do that as quickly as possible and as efficiently as you can, you need to keep your best players, otherwise you enter a different period where you go into transition and you have to start again.

“Your top players, the elite ones, are so difficult to recruit, they’re so difficult to find, so when we get them, we’ve got to try to keep them.”

Isak left Micky van de Ven sitting on his backside to open the scoring on the half-hour and when Anthony Gordon did the same two minutes later, the visitors were in trouble.

Isak’s equally accomplished 51st-minute finish put the result beyond doubt and Fabian Schar added the flourish at the death with a thumping header on a day when the Magpies’ game-plan worked to perfection.

For long periods, they were content to allow Spurs possession – they had just a 27 per cent share – and back themselves both to deny them clear-cut chances and to hit them on the break, and Howe could not have asked his players to execute his instructions any more comprehensively.

Asked how good Isak could be, Howe said: “For me, he’s so exciting to work with, he’s got so many facets to his game we can explore and try to make better.

“First and foremost, he has the undeniable quality that he wants to score, he needs to score – that’s a great characteristic for any striker to have.

“But he also plays for the team, he doesn’t play for himself, which is rare. You can see him linking play and doing things that the team needs, not just what he needs. I thought it was a great performance from him today.”

It proved a testing day for Ange Postecoglou’s men, who were trounced 6-1 in the corresponding fixture last season before his arrival, although the Australian played down the significance of that result.

Postecoglou said: “I think there are other explanations beyond that as to why we didn’t perform. Some of it is down to the opposition, some of it is just down to us.

“We didn’t really get a control of the game, like we have been, and we paid a price for that.”

Alexander Isak smashed his way through the 20-goal barrier as Newcastle boosted their European hopes by denting those of Tottenham.

The Magpies’ £63million record signing produced two sumptuous finishes either side of Anthony Gordon’s strike to take his tally for the campaign to 21 before Fabian Schar’s thunderous late header secured a 4-0 win at St James’ Park.

It was their third victory in four Premier League outings and ended fourth-placed Spurs’ three-match unbeaten run, and while it might not have been as spectacular as last season’s 6-1 rout in the corresponding fixture, it was equally emphatic.

Head coach Eddie Howe once again set up his team to suck in the visitors and then hit them on the break, and the plan worked to perfection on an day defender Micky van de Ven in particular will want to forget quickly.

With both sets of players wearing black armbands in memory of former Newcastle boss and Tottenham defender Joe Kinnear, who died last weekend, Gordon caused early problems and Elliot Anderson had a third-minute header blocked at source as Spurs found themselves under pressure.

However, they soon settled and turned the Magpies with seven minutes gone when Rodrigo Bentancur put Brennan Johnson in behind Dan Burn, although Timo Werner was unable to adjust quickly enough to volley his cross towards goal.

The visitors looked menacing and Magpies keeper Martin Dubravka was relieved to see Werner shoot straight at team-mate Son Heung-min after the South Korea international had picked out the striker with a fine pass before continuing his run.

Dubravka enjoyed another escape with 18 minutes gone when Werner side-footed wastefully across goal from James Maddison’s inviting cut-back.

But it was the hosts who took the lead on the half-hour later when Gordon robbed Destiny Udogie and slid the ball into Isak, who sat Van de Ven down before firing firmly past keeper Guglielmo Vicario.

Newcastle’s joy was doubled within two minutes when full-back Pedro Porro tried to play Burn’s header back to Vicario and Gordon intercepted before rounding the hapless Van de Ven as he went to ground once again and beating the keeper.

Van de Ven did intervene to prevent Isak from converting Anderson’s 35th-minute through-ball and then again as he went for goal two minutes later, and Vicario managed to pluck the ball off the Sweden international’s toe as he controlled Harvey Barnes’ fine cross with the Londoners in tatters at the back.

Maddison forced Dubravka into a 42nd-minute save from distance at the end of a sustained period of pressure, but Isak glanced a Gordon corner wide with Howe’s men refusing to sit on their laurels.

Werner tested Dubravka significantly further within six minutes of the restart, but Newcastle increased their lead seconds later when Isak ran away from Van de Ven to collect Bruno Guimaraes’ inch-perfect ball over the top and drill a shot past Vicario.

Vicario parried an Anderson shot at his near post and Maddison blazed high over at the other end with the Magpies managing their lead in relative comfort despite seeing little of the ball, and they finished with a flourish when Schar powered Gordon’s 87th-minute corner home to make it 4-0.

Ange Postecoglou has no interest in following the lead of Newcastle and other clubs, which includes his own, of allowing the TV cameras inside the Tottenham dressing room to film a documentary.

Spurs return to St James’ Park on Saturday for the first time since their 6-1 thrashing last April, which features in a recent docuseries about the north-east club.

Episode three of the four-part series focuses on a match which proved the nadir of a sorry season for Tottenham and subsequently resulted in the appointment of Postecoglou in June.

This documentary about Newcastle is the latest in a collection of sports series by Amazon Prime, which includes Spurs’ 2019-20 campaign where then-manager Jose Mourinho predictably proved a TV star, but the current coach in the hotseat has no such burning desire.

“Nah, unless you want a cure for insomnia, mate. Put it on late at night and dream yourself away,” Postecoglou replied when asked if he would feature in a behind-the-lens documentary.

“I’ve probably watched… I watched Sunderland ‘Til I Die, it was good.

“(Not Tottenham) because I just think it becomes a bit manufactured. I’d be very surprised if you get a real sort of glance.

“Look, who am I to say? I’m no movie critic. Maybe people like them, but not for me. I love documentaries, but nah.”

The Newcastle documentary is not the only footage Postecoglou has no interest in viewing.

He has also declined to watch back Tottenham’s five-goal humbling away to Eddie Howe’s team last season, which resulted in Spurs dismissing Cristian Stellini after he had stepped up on an interim basis to replace Antonio Conte, who left a month earlier.

Postecoglou added: “I might have watched individual players in that game but I wouldn’t have watched the game as a reference point because it’s totally different.

“It’s a different set of circumstances, different manager. I’m really reticent to judge and try to figure out what someone else thinks because I’m not in their shoes on a daily basis.

“I have never used those kind of things and also, irrespective of what has happened in the past, I have more than likely been brought in to do something differently.

“I watched all the players individually through the whole season to do my research on the players I was inheriting, but there wasn’t a lot for me to be gained from watching matches and trying to get some reference points as to how that’s going to affect what I am going to do.”

Spurs travel to Newcastle in pole position to claim Champions League football after they leapfrogged Aston Villa last weekend to take control of the battle for fourth.

Postecoglou has often cited the Magpies as an example of why qualifying for Europe’s elite competition is not a guarantee of long-term success, but was happy to talk up the potential of the Tottenham squad on Friday.

“That’s the exciting thing for me with this group – we’ve got a real core and there’s still so much growth in them,” he explained.

“Invariably, it’s their first season in the Premier League or they’re young in age and they’ve adapted so well at a big club where there are expectations.

“It’s not like they’re going to fly under the radar by doing two or three years before moving to a big club. They’re under the spotlight straightaway.

“I have been pleased with that, with the way the guys have accepted the challenge of playing for the club and challenging them to play in a certain way – and it’s going to expose them in many respects – but they’ve not shied away from that.”

Ange Postecoglou feels Newcastle should serve as a cautionary tale for Tottenham about what can happen if a club do not have the squad depth to cope with Champions League football.

Spurs travel to St James’ Park on Saturday in pole position to return to Europe’s elite competition after they moved ahead of Aston Villa in the race for fourth last weekend.

It was a different story last season, with Newcastle able to clinch Champions League qualification and they finished 11 points ahead of Tottenham, but it has failed to translate into a period of dominance for Eddie Howe’s Saudi-backed club.

The challenge of competing on four fronts has contributed towards injuries decimating the eighth-placed Magpies, which has often led to Postecoglou citing them as an example over why a top-four finish should not be seen as a guarantee for progression in the long run.

Postecoglou reflected: “Certainly there is a cautionary tale there that getting into Champions League also means greater demands.

“Demands on players, demands on the squad and you have to be geared up for it or else it can affect all parts of your season.

“It has been tough on Newcastle this year because the progress last year was fantastic, the reward for that was Champions League and this year for whatever reason it has made it a really challenging season on all fronts for them.”

This is Tottenham’s first return to St James’ Park since last season’s 6-1 hammering, which proved to be the nadir of a sorry campaign.

Postecoglou did not feel any need to watch that fixture back but he did reflect on the importance of the 4-1 victory over Newcastle in December.

Spurs entered that match with a lengthy list of absentees and after they had lost four of their past five matches.

“I think it was important in context of the results,” Postecoglou acknowledged.

“You don’t want to go through too long a spell where you’re not picking up wins because obviously that affects the course of your season.

“I thought our performances prior to that were still pretty strong, we obviously weren’t getting over the line for one reason or another.

“I thought on that day we played really well. We were really aggressive and I thought our front-third play was probably the area that we got most joy out of on the day. It was a pleasing result, especially at home.

“From the results point of view it was important, but from a performance point of view no more so than any other game.”

Spurs will remain without Richarlison (knee) for the lunchtime kick-off, but the Brazil forward is expected to be fit for the derby meeting with Arsenal later this month.

Eddie Howe admits Newcastle could not afford to allow “gentle giant” Joelinton to leave on a free transfer after they finally persuaded him to sign a new contract.

The 27-year-old Brazil international put pen to paper on a long-term deal on Thursday to end fears that he could leave the Magpies for nothing next summer despite becoming one of their most important players.

Ultimately, the two parties managed to reach agreement over a man whose value on and off the pitch had increased substantially during his time on Tyneside, although head coach Howe knows the financial implications of doing so may impact on his summer business as the club attempts to comply with profit and sustainability limits.

Howe said: “Of course something like this will have ramifications. You’re potentially lifting wages and that has an impact on your Financial Fair Play sheet.

“But the alternative is that Joe leaves on a free transfer, which for a player of his quality, would be really bad business from us.

“I think what has happened has alleviated that problem. But of course it maybe gives you problems elsewhere that you need to fix.”

Whatever the financial fall-out from tying up Joelinton’s future, the football reasons for doing so are obvious.

Under head coach Howe, a man who had been branded a flop following his then club record £40million switch from Hoffenheim as a striker during the summer of 2019, has established himself as a midfielder destroyer who played a key role in last season’s top-four Premier League finish.

He is currently working his way back from thigh tendon surgery – he may or may not play again before the end of the current campaign – and his absence has been particularly telling.

Securing the popular Brazilian at a time when interest in Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak is mounting sends a message, Howe believes, that the club’s ambition remains intact.

He said: “It helps with the perception of our ambition and that we’re still desperate to grow and improve. For me, to do that you have to try to keep your best players, you have to try to create something that everyone wants to be part of.”

Howe thrust Joelinton into a midfield role after defender Ciaran Clark’s dismissal just nine minutes into a 1-1 draw with Norwich in his third game at the helm in November 2021, and he has not looked back since, building himself a reputation as a snarling enforcer, something far removed from his off-field character.

Howe said: “For the size and stature that he is and how aggressive he is on the pitch, he is a soft, gentle giant off it.”

Joelinton will be a frustrated bystander once again as the Magpies entertain Tottenham on Saturday hoping for a repeat of the corresponding fixture in April last year when they raced into a 5-0 lead after just 21 minutes before running out 6-1 winners.

Asked if he had been able to relax during that game, Howe, who has doubts over Lewis Hall and Joe Willock, said with a smile: “Let me tell you, I didn’t feel like that, not even for a second. Not when you’ve got Harry Kane on the other team.

“He then scores and you start looking at how long is left.”

What the papers say

Manchester City will be hoping to stave off competitors Liverpool, Barcelona and Paris St Germain for 21-year-old Bayern Munich forward Jamal Musiala according to the Independent. The 21-year-old from Germany has scored 10 goals in 23 matches in the Bundesliga this season.

The Mirror says Arsenal are now rethinking their plans for Brentford striker Ivan Toney due to the form of German forward Kai Havertz. The 24-year-old has scored five goals in his last seven matches, with the club now considering looking for a younger forward.

Chelsea could let 11 players leave the club this summer, the Sun says, with 24-year-old midfielder Conor Gallagher expected to be one of those players.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Viktor Gyokeres: The 25-year-old Sporting Lisbon forward is a top transfer target for Arsenal, but they will have to pay £85million to match the club’s release clause.

Piero Hincapie: Tottenham could look to sign the 22-year-old Bayer Leverkusen defender as manager Ange Postecoglou has made a defender one of his priorities in the summer, Teamtalk says.

Harry Kane scored his 15th goal in 20 appearances against Arsenal as Bayern Munich drew 2-2 at the Emirates Stadium in the Champions League.

The former Tottenham striker enjoyed a prolific record in north London derbies and a summer change of scenery made no difference.

Here, the PA news agency looks at his record against his long-time rivals.

Scourge of the Gunners

Kane, released from Arsenal as an eight-year-old written off by then-academy boss Liam Brady as “a bit chubby”, wasted little time in senior football in showing them the error of their ways.

He scored both Spurs goals in his first derby, a 2-1 win in February 2015, and five in his first four Premier League games against the Gunners.

He was finally kept at bay in Arsenal’s 2-0 win in November 2017, and in a pair of League Cup ties, but scored in nine of his first 10 league derbies.

With 14 goals in 17 games, the Gunners were his third-favourite Premier League opponent – he scored 18 against Leicester and 15 versus Everton, in 16 appearances against each. Only he, Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand, Sergio Aguero and Wayne Rooney have scored more than 14 against a single opponent in the competition, with Shearer’s 20 against Leeds a record.

Spurs won six, lost six and drew five of those 17 games but won five, drew five and lost only two when Kane scored. The two League Cup meetings brought one win apiece.

The goal for Bayern means he has scored at least once against Arsenal in each of the last 10 seasons.

On the spot

Kane put Bayern ahead in the 32nd minute on Tuesday from the penalty spot, a frequent source of goals for him against Arsenal.

William Saliba’s foul on Leroy Sane gave Kane the chance and he calmly sent David Raya the wrong way.

Of the 15 goals he has now scored against the Gunners, eight have been penalties – five out of six between 2016 and 2019 and each of his last three going back to May 2022.

The England captain has a 100 per cent record from penalties against Arsenal in his career.

Eric Dier believes he is playing the best football of his career and warrants a place in England’s Euro 2024 squad.

The 30-year-old has been a regular for Bayern Munich since his eye-catching loan switch in January, having dropped down the pecking order at Tottenham where he made only four appearances under Ange Postecoglou.

Dier has impressed for the German giants but Southgate overlooked the 49-cap England defender for March’s final camp before naming his Euros squad.

The centre-back has not played for the national team since their World Cup last-16 win over Senegal in December 2022 but believes he deserves to be in consideration to go to a fourth major tournament.


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“Obviously, I want to be a part of the England set-up and I believe that I should be a part of it, that I’m that level of a player,” Dier told The Overlap podcast.

“I haven’t spoken at all to Gareth Southgate, but you try and play as well as possible for your club and then the decision is out of your hands.

“Since the World Cup, I wouldn’t say that I’ve had any dip in form, I’m playing the best football of my career since (Antonio) Conte came (to Tottenham in 2021) and I’ve carried it on since I’ve been here, and I think I’ve shown that.

“People think that I’m 37 or something, but I’m 30 years-old and am nowhere near the end of my prime and imagine that this will be my prime.

“When I look around the players I’ve played with in my career, like (Mousa) Dembele, (Jan) Vertonghen, (Toby) Alderweireld, (Hugo) Lloris – all these guys, they were 31, 32 and were playing their best football at Tottenham.”

Dier went to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups as well as Euro 2016, but had to watch England’s run to the final of the last European Championship three years ago from afar.

Southgate was asked at March’s squad announcement about overlooking the former Sporting Lisbon player for the friendlies against Brazil and Belgium.

“Clearly he’s a player we know really well,” the England boss said of Dier. “He’s only had seven starts this season.

“Bayern have had a mixed period but it’s good to see Eric playing. It’s a great move for him, playing for such a big club.

“He’s a player that if we felt he was the best for that role, he could slot easily back in ahead of the Euros.

“I think there is more value for us at the moment in looking at a (Jarrad) Branthwaite, who we haven’t worked with before because we know about Eric.

“If Eric is playing well and is playing better than all the others by the end of the season, we can bring him in. I’m also mindful he’s stuck on 49 caps and that’s nearly as uncomfortable for me, given what he’s given us, as it is for him!”

What the papers say

West Ham will join Liverpool, Tottenham and AC Milan in the hunt for 26 -year-old Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo, according to the Guardian. The former Manchester City player will be a free agent in summer, but Fulham are hoping to retain his services.

Football Insider says Chelsea are trying to secure the signature of Athletic Bilbao forward Nico Williams for £43million. The 21-year-old Spain international has scored six goals and had 14 assists for Athletic in all competitions this season.

Former Arsenal loanee Dani Ceballos is set to leave Real Madrid for rivals Atletico Madrid as he struggles for game time at the LaLiga leaders, the Sun reports. The 27-year-old Spain midfielder has played just 14 games for the Real Madrid in the league this season, mostly as a substitute.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Mohamed Salah: The 31-year-old Liverpool striker is set to be targeted once again by Saudi Pro League clubs this summer with Al Ittihad reportedly set to offer £70million for the Egypt star, Talksport says.

Lucas Paqueta: French media outlet L’Equipe says Manchester City have agreed to terms with the 26-year-old West Ham midfielder.

James Maddison wants Tottenham to be in the mix to win the Premier League this time next year after being left frustrated at missing out on this season’s “amazing” title race.

Spurs were top in November but a spate of high-profile injuries and suspensions resulted in Ange Postecoglou’s team lacking consistency during the winter months.

It contributed towards Tottenham being engulfed in a top-four battle with Aston Villa instead of the title race, but they could be kingmakers when it comes to deciding the champions.

Arsenal make the short trip across north London later this month, while Spurs face Liverpool and Manchester City in May.

However, Maddison has echoed the recent sentiments of Postecoglou and stated Tottenham want to be in the race next season.

“I’ve got no interest to be honest. We’ve got our own goals for the season and I’m not bothered,” Maddison said after Sunday’s 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest.

“If we end up winning games against teams that are in that race, it makes no difference. We’ve got a job to do.

“We are where we are and that is something that gives us good motivation to want to be in the title race next year, seeing how good it is this year.

“For sure, that’s definitely the feeling. That’s filtered down from the manager.

“It’s annoying really, listening to three teams go at it for the title and we’re not in it, especially after the start of the season we had.

“How exciting is the title race this season? It’s amazing, it’s brilliant for a neutral. My friends and family, everyone is locked into the Premier League every week at the minute because it’s such a good title race.

“Frustrating not to be a part of that but we are where we are and we have our own job to do.”

Tottenham took control of the battle for fourth spot with a victory over Forest, which saw them leapfrog Aston Villa on goal difference with a game in hand.

Micky van de Ven’s thunderous strike at the start of the second half sent Spurs on their way to a crucial win and continued the Dutch defender’s outstanding record since he arrived from Wolfsburg in August.

Van de Ven has won 13 of his 20 Premier League appearances and only lost one league fixture during that time when he has finished a game.

Maddison added: “Shooting is not his forte if you see him in training every day but we’ll take them ones that go flying into the top corner.

“He is a special player, he is top level and credit to the recruitment team because I had never heard of him before we signed him.

“The joke is on me really because a player of that calibre, I should probably have heard of in Europe.

“A brilliant player, a brilliant trainer, a brilliant lad and a really good guy.”

Maddison played a key role in Spurs’ third goal after being substituted in their previous two games with West Ham and Luton.

“I am very critical of myself,” the England international admitted.

“Maybe (I’m) not at the heights that won me player of the month at the start of the season, but I am so hungry and so critical of myself to work hard to try and get back to that level.

“I am not too far away, I feel good.”

Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo bemoaned another poor refereeing decision after he felt James Maddison should have been sent off during their 3-1 loss at Tottenham.

Spurs playmaker Maddison was involved in an off-the-ball incident with Ryan Yates in the 44th minute, which ended with the Forest captain in a heap on the floor.

Yates urged referee Simon Hooper to review the incident and replays showed Maddison did catch the Forest midfielder with a whack to the stomach, but VAR decided not to take action when the score was still 1-1.

Nuno said: “It doesn’t look like he punched him, he punched him. I saw the image and that is why I speak to you.


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“I was surprised that VAR didn’t tell Simon to review it better because honestly with all my respects, Maddison loses his composure and it is a punch in the stomach of Yates.

“It should have been reviewed and a different decision. It is not a shirt with players that looks like nothing happens, no. No, it’s without the ball.

“So, there are two moments we mention (Chris Wood’s miss) in the first half that can change the game.

“I didn’t ask (Hooper), but I saw it. There is no problem in telling I didn’t see it the same way. We didn’t agree, me and VAR.”

Forest could have been ahead by this point but Wood, after he scored for a fourth consecutive match, hit the post from a matter of yards after Guglielmo Vicario had denied Yates in the 34th minute.

Spurs went on to score twice in quick succession after half-time through Micky van de Ven and Pedro Porro to end Forest’s three-match unbeaten.

It also ensured Nuno endured an unhappy first return to Tottenham since his 2021 dismissal after only 17 matches in charge.

While the Portuguese described it as a “special” occasion, he insisted his full focus was on 17th-placed Forest improving their survival chances at home to Wolves – another of his old clubs – next week.

“It was a pleasure to work here at Spurs. It was an honour. Things didn’t work out and didn’t finish well. I keep going, Spurs keep on going,” Nuno reflected.

“It was special to come here. It is always special to come to a place where you worked, but it doesn’t take away the focus. My focus is on Forest and we have to do much better next week because we are in a tough fight.”

Ange Postecoglou praised an “outstanding” display from Micky van de Ven after the defender’s goal helped Tottenham climb into the Premier League’s top four with a 3-1 win against Nottingham Forest.

Spurs have lost only one league game that the 22-year-old defender has completed since joining from Wolfsburg and his second-half strike to restore their lead helped change the shape of a game in which Forest had arguably been on top until that point.

A hamstring injury suffered during the home defeat to Chelsea in November forced him to miss nine games and coincided with a collapse in form that saw Spurs drop from top of the table to fifth.

“He’s got a real appetite and determination for being the best he can be in every game,” said Postecoglou. “His defensive work was outstanding again today and it’s a great strike for the goal from a well-worked set-piece.

“It’s credit to him. We’re not the ones who are going to put any limits on his growth. We keep providing an environment for these guys to keep pushing themselves. Not just Micky but others will be dragged along as well because they’re all competing.”

The home side took the lead in the first half via an own goal from Forest defender Danilo, sliding in to turn Timo Werner’s low cross from the left past his own goalkeeper.

Chris Wood levelled with a smart first-time finish from Anthony Elanga’s pass but the game turned on a chance that fell to the New Zealand striker moments later, thumping the ball against the post from two yards out with the goal seemingly at his mercy.

The matched then changed in the space of six decisive second-half minutes.

First, Van de Ven smashed in his first goal at home for the club from the edge of the box, beating Matz Sels with a wicked drive after being set up by Son Heung-min.

Then, Pedro Porro matched the feat of his fellow defender with a bullet of his own, crashing the ball home after Rodrigo Bentancur had got a flick on James Maddison’s cross to send Spurs above Aston Villa and into pole position to finish fourth.

“I couldn’t care less about the race for fourth,” said Postecoglou. “What I care about is the way the team is progressing.

“Pleased with today. It had a little bit of everything. We started the game well, not just the goal, I thought we controlled the game well.

“Then we conceded from a counter attack which was obviously disappointing. I thought we lost our way a little bit towards the back end of that first half but a super reaction and the whole second half we were really dominant.”

Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo reflected on a game that got away from his side after the interval.

“The first half was very good but disappointed with the way we started the second half,” he said. “We should have been more aggressive.

“We wanted the second half to sustain and go again. Unfortunately we didn’t achieve it.”

Tottenham took control of the top-four race after second-half goals by Micky van de Ven and Pedro Porro downed relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest 3-1.

After Aston Villa dropped points at home to Brentford on Saturday, Spurs knew a victory would send them fourth on goal difference and with a game in hand, but Chris Wood’s first-half strike ensured it was level at the break.

Danilo’s own-goal put Tottenham ahead, although they were perhaps fortunate to still have 11 players on the pitch for the second half after James Maddison caught Ryan Yates off-the-ball towards the end of the first 45.

Maddison avoided punishment and helped the hosts claim a crucial win as they struck twice in five second-half minutes via fine finishes by Van de Ven and Porro to fire Ange Postecoglou’s team above their Champions League rivals.

This game was originally scheduled for Monday night but moved forward due to a planned train strike and in the early hours of Sunday morning a man was stabbed to death near the stadium.

Despite roads around the ground being closed due to a police investigation, the fixture went ahead and it represented Nuno Espirito Santo’s first return to Tottenham since he was sacked in 2021.

Nuno’s ill-fated spell only lasted 17 matches but he almost had a wonder goal to celebrate in the 11th minute.

Forest centre-back Murillo produced the most outrageous effort from almost 70 yards with Guglielmo Vicario off his line and the Spurs goalkeeper could only watch on nervously as the ball sailed a few inches wide.

Murillo did find the net four minutes later but it was his own as Tottenham went ahead.

The hosts’ moved the ball out to the left where Timo Werner produced a dangerous cross, which Murillo miscued past Matz Sels.

It was nearly 2-0 when Werner worked a yard of space and his centre found Brennan Johnson, but the former Forest attacker was denied by a brilliant close-range stop from Sels.

That proved crucial when Wood scored for a fourth consecutive match after 27 minutes.

Neco Williams and Anthony Elanga combined down the right before the latter crossed in for Wood, who drilled through the legs of Porro to make it 1-1.

Wood should have doubled his tally seven minutes later when Vicario denied Yates and he was first to the loose ball, but Forest’s top goalscorer smashed his close-range effort against the post.

An action-packed opening 45 ended with Maddison lucky to escape punishment after he delivered an off-the-ball whack into the stomach of Yates, who went down and called for VAR to intervene.

Referee Simon Hooper decided to just speak with the pair as it stayed level at the break.

Postecoglou had seen enough and made a double substitution at half-time, which almost immediately worked but a 25-yard curler from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was tipped over by Sels.

Wood had his blushes sparred by the offside flag moments later when he inexplicably headed wide from a Williams cross.

The match had taken on an end-to-end feel now but it was Tottenham who seized the momentum with two goals in the space of five minutes.

Both were from unlikely sources with Van de Ven blasting home from the edge of the penalty area for his first goal at Spurs’ home ground in the 53rd minute.

Soon after full-back Porro rivalled his fellow defender for finish of the night with a sweet half-volley after excellent work by Maddison, who skipped away down the left and had his cross flicked on by Bentancur for Porro to fire home.

Son Heung-min hit the post late on but it mattered little as Tottenham moved up to fourth, while Forest stay 17th.

Ange Postecoglou feels there is more to come from in-form Tottenham attacker Brennan Johnson.

Wales international Johnson scored in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at West Ham to make it five goal involvements in his last five Premier League matches.

After a slow start to life at Spurs following his £47.5million move from Nottingham Forest in September, the 22-year-old is beginning to hit top form now and faces his old club on Sunday.

Postecoglou has been impressed with how Johnson has handled his big-money move, especially in the wake of Harry Kane’s departure weeks before his arrival and amid recent discourse over the part his transfer played in Forest’s points deduction for breaching league profit and sustainability rules.

“We had a minimum of 30 goals walk out the building,” Postecoglou said.

“People are going to be looking at how we’re going to replace that and it can weigh heavily on a young guy’s shoulders.

“Not that we can expect Brennan to replace Harry, but we needed goals and assists and I like the way he’s handled it.

“We’ve tried to tread carefully with him because I can see the potential in him. I can see how much he can improve and the attributes he has, I’ve got no doubt will fit really well with this team, but I’m not going to put a ceiling on it because that would be unfair on him.

“We like the way he’s progressing but we certainly believe there is more to come, for sure.


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“I think now he’s found a bit of confidence, consistency and understanding of how we play, he’s getting the rewards, which is great.

“But he’s still a young guy and we bought him with very much an eye that whatever he does this year, there’s definitely a lot more in him.

“And when you see improvement that encourages us even more because it makes you think that if we invest the time in him even more, he’s going to be a super player for us.”

Johnson’s midweek effort was not enough to fire Tottenham to victory at West Ham, with the hosts able to claim a point after Kurt Zouma scored from a corner.

Spurs have conceded 10 goals from set-pieces in the Premier League this season, but Postecoglou rejected suggestions it has become an Achilles’ heel for his team.

He added: “I think we’ve been pretty good at set-pieces.

“Every goal you concede is down to something. It was a decent delivery the other night, they’ve got some big guys and the rest of the set-pieces I thought we handled quite well.

“We gave away too many corners. That was an issue for us. When you do it against a team like West Ham, who are such a big team physically. They’ve got such great deliveries with (Jarrod) Bowen and (James) Ward-Prowse — you’re asking for trouble.

“I thought that was part of the game we could have handled a bit better, not to give away so many, but I think those kind of things people just kind of look at in snapshots.

“Our winning goal against Luton came from a defensive corner. With all these things, I tend to take a longer-term view on them and for the most part I think we’ve been pretty decent.”

Spurs will be without Richarlison (knee) for this weekend’s visit of Forest.

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