Harry Kane scored his 19th goal of the season and Tanguy Ndombele struck with a sublime finish as Tottenham beat bottom of the table Sheffield United 3-1 on Sunday. (More Football News)
Jose Mourinho's side were held by Fulham in midweek, but secured all three points at Bramall Lane to go fourth in the Premier League - although Manchester City could go back above them when they face Crystal Palace later on Sunday.
Serge Aurier opened the scoring with an early header and Kane added a second to put Tottenham in command at half-time.
David McGoldrick halved the deficit, but Ndombele scored one of the goals of the season to give the London club breathing space as they extended their unbeaten run to seven games and left the beleaguered Blades on just five points.
Spurs were rewarded for starting so positively when Aurier capitalised on slack defending by nodding in a whipped corner from Son Heung-Min inside five minutes.
Son ought to have doubled their lead when he dinked the ball over Aaron Ramsdale, but struck the outside of the post after being sent clear by Kane.
Kane was causing the Blades all sorts of problems and the captain put Tottenham two up with a clinical finish five minutes before the break, turning sharply as he took a pass from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and beat Ramsdale with a measured right-foot strike from 20 yards out.
Ramsdale denied Kane a second goal when he tipped the striker's rasping long range drive over the crossbar early in the second half.
The Blades were back in it just before the hour mark, with McGoldrick heading home John Fleck's inviting cross, but Ndombele restored Spurs' two-goal advantage with a moment of magic three minutes later.
Steven Bergwijn played a one-two with the French midfielder, picking him out with a clever chipped pass, and Ndombele found the far corner from inside the penalty area with a cheeky flicked lob running away from the goal.
Kane blazed over the bar at the end of a slick Tottenham move in stoppage time, but the victory had long been wrapped up by then.
What does it mean? Spurs build on another fast start
Spurs fans have been frustrated by seeing their side drop points after taking the lead on several occasions, but there was no repeat in South Yorkshire.
Aurier's header was their fifth goal in the opening five minutes of Premier League games this season, more than any other side and they went on to end a seven-match winless run at Bramall Lane in the top flight - stretching back to December 1975.
There was no Dele Alli or Harry Winks in the squad, while Gareth Bale was not called upon from the bench, another demonstration of Tottenham's strength in depth as they moved three points behind leaders Manchester United ahead of their blockbuster clash at Liverpool.
20 - Harry Kane has become the 18th different player to score 20 Premier League goals from outside the box, with this goal equalling the number of goals from outside the box both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gianfranco Zola scored in the Premier League. Scope. #SHUTOT pic.twitter.com/lH1PLyPwZu— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 17, 2021
Classy Kane and Ndombele light up Bramall Lane
England skipper Kane led by example yet again, drifting into space intelligently and moving to the brink of 20 goals for the season with a brilliant finish.
He becomes the 18th different player to score 20 Premier League goals from outside the box.
Although Ndombele's goal was scored from inside the box, it was one for the highlight reel. His awareness and technique to nonchalantly loop the ball over Ramsdale was sheer class.
Ramsdale not breeding confidence
Blades goalkeeper Ramsdale had another busy afternoon and although the finger could not be pointed at him for Tottenham's goals, he had shaky moments.
The former Bournemouth man looks uncertain from crosses and set-pieces, his handling not convincing as Chris Wilder's men were pushed a step closer to relegation.
Spurs travel to Wycombe Wanderers in the fourth round of the FA Cup a week on Monday, while the Blades will do battle with Plymouth Argyle for a place in the fifth round next Saturday.
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