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Spurs: Rodrigo Bentancur was “immense” vs Newcastle

Tottenham Hotspur suffered a second successive Premier League defeat after slipping up at home to Newcastle United on Sunday, bringing an end to a frustrating week which has dragged Antonio Conte’s right back into the scrap for the top four.

Having previously appeared somewhat settled as the best of the rest behind leaders Arsenal and champions Manchester City, the north Londoners are now only two points ahead of the Magpies in fourth, with both Chelsea and Manchester United also both firmly in the mix behind them.

Fresh from their grim defeat at Old Trafford in midweek, the Lilywhites were again under par against Eddie Howe’s side, with goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron handing the visitors a two-goal lead heading in at the break.

A typically clinical header from Harry Kane just after the interval had raised hopes of a potential fightback for the home side, although the Englishman’s effort ultimately proved a mere consolation as Conte’s men suffered a third defeat in their last five league games.

A rare shining light in that frustrating loss had been that man Kane, with the Three Lions skipper taking his top-flight tally to ten goals in just 12 games thus far, with that stunning run having only been overshadowed by the freakish exploits of Erling Haaland, who leads the scoring charts with a mammoth haul of 17 goals.

The 29-year-old came close to making a breakthrough in the first half only to see his well-worked effort saved by the fee of compatriot Nick Pope, having also showcased his playmaking brilliance by sliding in partner-in-crime Heung-min Son, only for the Korean international to inexplicably squander the opportunity.

The prolific striker was not the only Tottenham figure to have impressed amid defeat, however, with January arrival Rodrigo Bentancur having also been “immense” in the centre of the park, according to Lee Barratt.

That “outstanding” performance – as described by journalist Dan Kilpatrick – saw the 25-year-old notably win ten of his 14 ground duels from his central midfield berth, while also winning two of his three aerial duels.

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With the industrious Pierre-Emile Hojberg ruled out due to injury, the Uruguayan international took on the Dane’s all-action role as part of the midfield three, having also won six tackles and made four interceptions on the day.

Not just an asset defensively, the former Juventus maestro also showcased his attacking quality after registering three key passes and successfully completing all four of his attempted dribbles, with his overall match rating of 7.8, as per SofaScore, the third-highest of any player for either side.

That machine-like performance may have been little consolation for both the player and his manager amid the overall frustration of defeat, although it has once again served as a reminder of the £31.5m-rated man’s importance to this Tottenham side.

Article title: Spurs: Rodrigo Bentancur was “immense” vs Newcastle

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