London (AFP) – Tottenham forward Son Heung-min was involved in a furious row with team-mate Hugo Lloris at half-time in their side’s 1-0 win against Everton on Monday.
As Son walked towards the players’ tunnel at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, France goalkeeper Lloris confronted the South Korea star, shouting at him and shoving his shoulder.
The usually placid Son responded angrily and the pair had to be kept apart by team-mates Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko as the altercation threatened to boil over.
It seemed Tottenham captain Lloris was irked by Son’s failure to close down a loose ball in midfield moments before Everton threatened through Richarlison.
Neither of the feuding players was hauled off at the break as Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho tried to keep the peace.
Son and Lloris looked to have buried the hatchet when they hugged at the final whistle after Tottenham secured their second win since the coronavirus hiatus.
Mourinho’s men sealed the points thanks to a first half own goal from Everton defender Michael Keane, who deflected in Giovani Lo Celso’s shot.
Tottenham’s second win in their last 10 games in all competitions lifted them into eighth place in the Premier League one point behind north London rivals Arsenal in seventh.
Just a year after reaching the Champions League final under previous boss Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham have been reduced to fighting for a place in the Europa League.
This win ensured they could still avoid being out of European competition entirely for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
Since Carlo Ancelotti’s first game in charge of Everton on Boxing Day, only Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City have earned more Premier League points than the Toffees.
But they haven’t beat Tottenham since 2012 and a first defeat in four games could end their European hopes for this term.
– Angry exchange –
Thursday’s limp 3-1 defeat at Sheffield United left Mourinho questioning the desire of his players and admitting he felt “destroyed inside” by their surrender.
Mourinho made two changes, with Toby Alderweireld in for Davinson Sanchez and Winks replacing Steven Bergwijn, while Dele Alli was missing with a hamstring injury.
Perhaps keen to answer Mourinho’s criticism, Tottenham were the better team in the first half and Lucas Moura shot narrowly wide from 25 yards.
Mourinho’s side took the lead in the 24th minute thanks to a welcome stroke of luck.
Son found Harry Kane in the area and his effort deflected to Lo Celso, whose shot was going wide until it span wickedly off Keane to wrong-foot Everton keeper Jordan Pickford.
Eric Dier went close to doubling Tottenham’s lead with a free-kick that just cleared the bar.
Pickford almost gifted Tottenham a second goal when he let Lo Celso’s cross go straight through his hands and just wide.
That summed up a lethargic half for Ancelotti’s team, who finally threatened in stoppage-time when Richarlison burst forward to drive just wide from the edge of the area.
Following Lloris’s angry exchange with Son, both players were in the spotlight for more positive reasons in the second half.
Ancelotti had sent on Anthony Gordon and the teenage forward immediately drew a save from Lloris before Son tested Pickford at the other end.
With a point to prove to Lloris, Son wasn’t far away with a curling effort from the edge of the area.
Son was leading the Tottenham attack with renewed verve and Pickford had to beat away his strike after the Korean wriggled through the Everton defence.
Son was eventually replaced by Steven Bergwijn in the 78th minute as Tottenham wound down the clock on a much-needed win.