Tottenham found it harder than many observers might have expected on their trip to West Brom yesterday.
It was a slog, but Spurs got all three points late on via Harry Kane’s header, his 150th Premier League goal.
BBC pundit Alan Shearer gave his verdict on the match – and the title race more widely – in the wake of that 1-0 win, which briefly took Tottenham top of the league.
He wanted to give Jose Mourinho credit for his bold substitutions and hailed their role in getting all three points on a tricky afternoon.
“Credit has to go to Jose Mourinho, though, because of the positive change he made 12 minutes from time, when he took Moussa Sissoko and Bale off and brought on Lucas Moura and Carlos Vinicius.
“That’s what won them the game in the end. I know Harry secured the three points but it happened because Mourinho was looking to win the game, and it worked.
“They have also shown they can win the hard way, when they are not playing well.”
Mourinho has acquired a reputation as a cautious, defensive manager, but he showed yesterday once again that he is willing to make bold changes in search of victories.
Kane is usually gets more shots off than he was able to yesterday, but he stayed patient and got the job done in the end.
With Mourinho and Kane, Spurs have two strong leaders who won’t give in until the very end of a game.
After a tricky Europa League assignment in midweek, a clean sheet and away win represent a job well done for Mourinho yesterday.
Shearer clearly felt the Portuguese deserved his fair share of the credit for the result, and those late changes were certainly a statement of intent – although it took Kane’s quality to get Spurs over the line.