Tottenhams Gazzaniga saves Deeney penalty to earn draw at Watford

Paulo Gazzaniga kept out a Troy Deeney penalty awarded for a handball by Jan Vertonghen with 20 minutes left as Tottenham drew 0-0 at Watford

It is possible to read too much into the remarks of managers, but sometimes they give a new perspective on a match, particularly those as uneventful as this one.

So it was that in the cheery aspect of Jos Mourinho and the repeatedly pragmatic remarks of Nigel Pearson, you could perhaps better discern who had come out best from this stalemate. Watford are the team who have just clambered out of the relegation zone, as Pearson was keen to point out. Spurs are chasing the Champions League, but with eight points the gap at the final whistle, it is receding ever more into the distance. For Mourinho to celebrate the performance of his players suggested someone keen to lower expectations.

Ive seen our players again putting in an incredibly honest performance and a very good performance too, Pearson said after a match when his team had more chances and Troy Deeney missed a second-half penalty.

I have to give the players an awful lot of credit, for embracing the situation for what it is. They understand where we are and they havent shirked responsibility. We havent eradicated the threat of relegation. What weve produced recently is good, but thats the baseline.

For Mourinho, whose team came closest to scoring when a poked Erik Lamela effort was cleared off the line by the smallest of margins in stoppage time, his team had been good too. Given the limitations of his squad, that is.

We played well, we start well, finish well and for the majority we played well he said. Its not easy to come here and play with a team that is not physical, a team that is just technical. In front of our defenders we had Harry Winks, Lo Celso, Erik Lamela and we had control of the game for the majority of the time.

I didnt want to speak about the boys that are not [available], but you know how important they are for us. Its the kind of game when you have a guy who smells goals, probably you win it. Its injuries, its the Christian [Eriksen] situation. We have our problems but in the game today, and against Liverpool, we showed good things, especially this organisation, this commitment. I am happy with lots of things we did.

rik Lamela was millimetres away from winning the game for Spurs in injury time. Photograph: BT Sport

The truth was that Spurs started well, without causing Ben Foster any real moments of concern. By the half- hour, however, Watford were on top and during the first 15 minutes of the second half should have taken the lead.

Their penalty came in the 69th minute, the result of incessant pressure that culminated in Jan Vertonghen desperately blocking a shot from Gerard Deulofeu with his arm. Deeney stepped up to take it, but his shot was soft and too close to Paolo Gazzanigas right hand. It was Deeneys third miss in his past six Premier League penalties.

The spot kick inspired Mourinho to intervene, introducing Eriksen into the fray for perhaps his last Spurs appearance as well as new loan signing Gedson Fernandes. This had some small effect, but no real opportunities until the very last.

In added time a low cross from Serge Aurier found Lamela just ahead of the penalty spot. His first shot was blocked but his second, a toe poke, was heading in until the intercession of Watfords own debutant, winger Ignacio Pussetto. The substitute cleared the ball off the line with 10mm to spare and a share of the spoils was confirmed.

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Mourinho described goalline technology as the technology that I like as he forswore making any remarks on VAR, despite an odd incident that could have led to tienne Capoue being in trouble for a foul on Lo Celso, only for the batteries in Michael Olivers headset to run out at an inappropriate moment. Spurs now play host to Norwich on Wednesday.

For Watford an exceptionally busy week follows, with a six-pointer at Aston Villa on Tuesday followed by an FA Cup replay with Tranmere on Thursday and, should they win that, another Cup tie with Manchester United next Sunday.

Asked whether he hoped to bolster his squad further this transfer window, Pearson said: Not that bothered. In all honesty we have rather a nice blend at the moment and we have people who are capable of effecting the situation we are in.

The sub-text to those remarks being, perhaps; dont you dare take your feet off the pedal now.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/jan/18/watford-tottenham-premier-league-match-report

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