Manager Jose Mourinho brought up his 200th Premier League victory as Tottenham edged past Everton – though home players Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-min had to be separated by team-mates during the match.
A tepid contest threatened to boil over as the teams left the pitch at half-time when Spurs skipper Lloris ran over and shoved Son in the back.
The South Korea forward tried to react but was pushed down the tunnel by his team-mates, with others having to hold back France World Cup-winning keeper Lloris.
But the pair put their differences aside at full-time as they shared a warm hug before leaving the pitch.
The half-time clash was the flashpoint of a largely uneventful affair which was settled by Michael Keane’s own goal, the ball deflecting in off the Everton defender from Giovani lo Celso’s strike.
The Toffees barely threatened in a poor attacking display and substitute Anthony Gordon’s long-range strike, which was straight at Lloris, their only shot of note.
The win keeps alive Tottenham’s hopes of playing European football next season. They move up to eighth, four points behind sixth-placed Wolves, while Everton stay in 11th.
Spurs players show much-needed fight
Mourinho has seen his winning prowess wane since taking the Spurs job in November, but reached a significant milestone against the Toffees.
He has had two spells at Chelsea and been in charge of Manchester United, and he becomes the first foreign manager to reach a double century of Premier League victories – with Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Harry Redknapp and David Moyes the others to achieve the feat.
The 57-year-old had questioned the mentality of his players after a desperate 3-1 loss to Sheffield United last time out, saying afterwards he was “destroyed a little bit on the inside” by the result.
But the players hit back to stay in contention for the top six – where they have finished in the past 10 seasons – with Lloris and Son two to show they are up for the fight.
The incident seemed to come out of nothing as the Tottenham players headed down the tunnel, but Lloris seemed particularly incensed by the contributions of his team-mate and determined to let him know about it.
The pair embraced at the final whistle and Mourinho will surely be pleased with the passion shown by his players as they kept Everton at bay for only their fifth clean sheet in 30 games under the Portuguese.
Son saw two strikes kept out well by keeper Jordan Pickford, but three points will be welcome for Spurs – it was only their second win in their past 10 games – though striker Harry Kane was subdued throughout and must wait to net his 200th career goal.
More to follow.