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Tanguy Ndombele fired Tottenham in front with a left foot shot from 25 yards out on 24 mins

 As the fourth official indicated a long four minutes of added time, that towering South Stand at the immaculate new stadium found their voice and delivered their verdict. ‘Mauricio Pochettino/He’s Magic/You know’ they sung.

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And he is. Or he was at least. The question is whether he still retains the aura. Just as Tottenham seemed to have built something magical, it seemed as though his spell over his players no longer retained its power.

Relationships that once seemed foundational were cracked and fractured. The balance of the club seemed all out of kilter. Being dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Colchester was merely the symptom of a deeper malaise belied by that extraordinary run to the Champions League final.

Tanguy Ndombele fired Tottenham in front with a left foot shot from 25 yards out on 24 mins

Tanguy Ndombele fired Tottenham in front with a left foot shot from 25 yards out on 24 mins

Serge Aurier was then sent off for a second bookable offence with just 31 minutes gone

Serge Aurier was then sent off for a second bookable offence with just 31 minutes gone

Serge Aurier was then sent off for a second bookable offence with just 31 minutes gone

Hugo Lloris gifted Southampton an equaliser when Danny Ings dispossessed him on his line
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Hugo Lloris gifted Southampton an equaliser when Danny Ings dispossessed him on his line

Hugo Lloris gifted Southampton an equaliser when Danny Ings dispossessed him on his line

Harry Kane came to Tottenham's rescue with a well taken finish just before half-time

Harry Kane came to Tottenham's rescue with a well taken finish just before half-time

Harry Kane came to Tottenham’s rescue with a well taken finish just before half-time

MATCH FACTS AND LEAGUE TABLE 

 Tottenham (4-3-3): Lloris 6; Aurier 4, Alderweireld 7.5, Vertonghen 7.5, Rose 7.5; Sissooko 7.5, Winks 8 (Wanyama 90) Ndombele 8 (Dier 78, 6.5); Eriksen 8, Kane 8, Son 8.5 (Lamella 64, 6)

Red cards: Aurier (31) 

Scorers: Ndombele (24), Kane (43)

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Southampton (3-4-3): Gunn 5; Bednarek, Yoshida, Vestergard (Armstrong 79); Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Hojberg, Bertrand; Redmond, Boufal (Long 89), Ings (Obafemi 83)

Scorers: Ings (39) 

Ref: Graham Scott 6

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Half the starting eleven here might have expected to begin the season elsewhere. At heart, that is what has hamstrung Spurs, those ‘different agendas’, to which Pochettino had referred.

And yet here was a glimpse of what they were.

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Christian Eriksen, not yet Real Madrid bound, but for the first time this season showing the wizardry that makes him unplayable.

Mauricio Pochettino displayed fight and commitment that has been lacking in recent weeks

Mauricio Pochettino displayed fight and commitment that has been lacking in recent weeks

Mauricio Pochettino displayed fight and commitment that has been lacking in recent weeks

Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, approaching the end of their Spurs’ careers, demonstrated the resilience that makes them the most-reliable paring in the Premier League.

Add in Heung-Min Son, flying up front, the unerring finishing of Harry Kane, a mature performance from Harry Winks and the emerging excellence of Tanguy Ndombele; in short, this is a formidable team when united.

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Here they were. This was a performance hewn from sheer doggedness. Playing with ten men for 54 minutes, it was as though they had tired of the infighting and would get back to what they do rather well.

Pochettino blanked Aurier as he trudged off the pitch following another moment of stupidity

Pochettino blanked Aurier as he trudged off the pitch following another moment of stupidity

Pochettino blanked Aurier as he trudged off the pitch following another moment of stupidity

Lloris' blunder was the latest in a long line of high-profile mistakes that occur too frequently

Lloris' blunder was the latest in a long line of high-profile mistakes that occur too frequently

Lloris’ blunder was the latest in a long line of high-profile mistakes that occur too frequently

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That Pochettino wears his emotions so nakedly is what makes him so charismatic. And this clearly felt like a new start. ‘I am not surprised at all about the character of the team,’ he insisted. ‘We have the character. Sometimes we have to realise that we need, every time that we compete, to show this character. In different games, we struggled to show that.

‘But we have an amazing squad. A few months ago we played the final of the Champions League, not because it was lucky but because we fully deserved to be there. We cannot change so much in a few months. And I feel proud.

‘We have unbelievable players. Only we needed again to recover this spirit that we showed today. We have an amazing spirit, we are all together and that is the point to start from, to keep going and to be consistent in the future. Now we need to recover our best, showing the belief and the faith and still the togetherness inside.’

The goalkeeper did at least respond with a string of fine saves to deny Southampton a point

The goalkeeper did at least respond with a string of fine saves to deny Southampton a point

The goalkeeper did at least respond with a string of fine saves to deny Southampton a point

 All of Tottenham’s best bits and some of their worst were on display. They had opened the scoring with a smart move, which saw Heung-Min Son play in Tanguy Ndembele for a strike on goal on 25 minutes. Then came the horror show. Serge Aurier picked up a deserved yellow card on 28 minutes and, extraordinarily, another three minutes later.

The second, for a shove on Ryan Bertrand, was harsh yet the sheer stupidity of an unnecessary foul so soon after being booked made Aurier culpable nonetheless. He walked off distraught but, though Pochettino excused him of blame later, his manager offered him not even a look of sympathy as he left the pitch but simply blanked him.

Then there was Hugo Lloris. What to say about the captain? He produced two saves here in that defiant second half which hardly any goalkeeper in the world could equal, flying through the air to tip away a James Ward-Prowse free kick and then an astounding reaction to offer a strong hand to turn away a Maya Yoshida header which looked a certain goal.

Kane's finish came at the end of a brilliant, flowing attacking move from Spurs' forward line

Kane's finish came at the end of a brilliant, flowing attacking move from Spurs' forward line

Kane’s finish came at the end of a brilliant, flowing attacking move from Spurs’ forward line

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That it came after the most horrendous of errors amplified the merit. Yet, his gaffes are no longer an aberration. The come frequently even if Pochettino tried to deflect the blame. ‘You don’t need to blame Hugo, blame me, because I demand him to play in this way.’ Pochettino though laughed when asked whether he had ever told his ‘keeper to try a Cruyff turn three yards off his line with Danny Ings closing down furiously? Presumably not. Predictably it didn’t end well, with an air shot, the ball completely missed and Ings bundling it home.

The crisis enveloping the club seemed to have grown ever darker. Yet it was as though this group of players refused to accept the chosen narrative. They reached back for a memory of when they were unplayable and at times the most exciting side in Europe

On 44 minutes, a long Moussa Sissoko pass from the right back position, was headed down by Kane for Son who fed Eriksen, who spotted run across him by Son, who took a touch and slipped it back inside to Eriksen who played in Kane.

There is no defending against a counter as quick and incisive as this, not least when Kane is on the end of the move finishing. He did that thing where he flicks the ball up before lashing it in. This is what Pochettino’s Spurs were built on: unstoppable attacking football.

Ralph Hassenhuttl, for whom the momentum has stalled at Southampton, bemoaned his side’s inability to exploit the extra man. ‘In the last 20 minutes, when normally the opponent gets tired, we stopped being calm on the ball, the decisions got worse and worse and my subs were not really making my game better. Finally, the last 15 minutes, it wasn’t enough.’ Apart from that though, they were fine.

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His task was not helped by Cedric announcing himself unfit at the start of the warm up. Hassenhuttl wasn’t clear what the injury was but a week’s worth a planning went out of the window. ‘We prepare everything and then he walks out on the pitch and he says he cannot play. I don’t know what happened. I haven’t spoken with him now but I will.’

Spurs would retain their spirit for second half, holding Southampton at bay, remarkably led by Lloris, erasing that calamitous error. It felt as though something had shifted. Maybe some magic had returned. ‘It was a season that was difficult to start for different circumstances,’ said Pochettino. ‘Now this situation is closed.’ They must hope so. Bayern Munich arrive on Tuesday.