Despite being just three games into his reign as Spurs boss the pressure was already mounting on Villas-Boas to deliver maximum points against the newly promoted Royal’s who struggled to shake off the rust from a 25 day interval since their last Premier League fixture against Chelsea on 22 August.
Manager Brian McDermott handed a top-flight debut to goalkeeper Alex McCarthy after first choice Adam Federici was ruled out with injury whilst Villas-Boas kept faith with 41-year-old Brad Friedel between the sticks opting to leave new signing Hugo Lloris on the substitutes bench.
And it was the Reading shot stopper who was busiest during the first half making early double save to deny Gareth Bale and then Jan Vertonghen. Spurs dominated the opening exchanges and their supremacy was rewarded in the 18th minute as Defoe swept home Aaron Lennon’s low drag back after he was played in down the right by Gylfi Sigurdsson.
McCarthy was called into action again to keep out Sigurdsson’s vicious long range strike before Defoe poked wide from a good position after showing excellent control and poise to take a long ball into his stride. Spurs took their foot off the gas after the break as they once again looked unable to close a game out from a dominant position.
It wasn’t until the 71st minute that they could breathe easy when Gareth Bale doubled their advantage scuffing home from 12-yards after good work from Kyle Walker before Defoe made sure of the points three minutes later with a superb solo goal. Reading did manage a consolation in stoppage time with Hal Robson-Kanu stretching to turn Adam Le Fondre’s deep cross into an empty net.