Tottenham beat Aston Villa 2-0 to move up to third in soccer’s Premier League as Spurs manager Harry Redknapp returned to the dugout following heart surgery.
Emmanuel Adebayor scored two first-half goals at London’s White Hart Lane last night with Gareth Bale setting up both, as Spurs extended their unbeaten run in the league to nine games.
“The most important thing was to get the three points tonight to put the pressure back on the others,” winger Bale said in a televised interview. “We know all the other teams around are very strong and it’s going to be a long season.”
The win lifted Tottenham to 25 points, ahead of Newcastle on goal difference. Manchester City leads the standings with 34 points, five more than defending champion Manchester United in second place. Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal have 22 points.
Redknapp had two stents inserted in his heart on Nov. 2 and was initially expected to be absent for as long as five weeks. Assistants Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan took charge of team affairs while the 64-year-old was recovering.
“It’s good when he’s back and thank god he’s healthy now,” Bale said. “We’ll look forward to a good season now.”
Tottenham, which has played one game fewer than its rivals at the top of the table, took its Premier League run to eight wins and a draw since starting with back-to-back losses to the Manchester clubs. Redknapp’s team has scored at least twice in each of those nine matches.
Adebayor opened the scoring in the 14th minute last night with an overhead kick and doubled the lead five minutes before half time with a tap-in from close range. The Togolese striker came close to completing his hat trick in the second half, twice shooting wide and having a low shot smothered by Villa goalkeeper Shay Given.
“I enjoyed the way we played tonight,” Redknapp told Sky Sports. “It’s great to be back.”
Spurs next visit West Bromwich Albion on Nov. 26. Villa, which stays in eighth place with 15 points, is without a win on the road this season and faces Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea next month.