LONDON: Mauricio Pochettino is sweating on the fitness of Harry Kane after the striker scored Tottenham Hotspur's winner, but had to leave the pitch on a stretcher with an ankle injury yesterday (Sunday).
Kane netted his second Premier League goal in as many games just before the hour mark after taking advantage of a terrible mistake from Sunderland central defender Papy Djilobodji.
But the 23-year-old twisted his ankle under a challenge from Djilobodji with just three minutes remaining and will now have a scan today with Spurs fearing ligament damage.
"Harry will be assessed tomorrow," said Pochettino. "It was tough, he twisted the ankle. Now he feels pain and we see tomorrow. It's painful and we need to wait. "There may be a problem with his ligaments, but it's difficult to assess today.
"It's difficult without Harry Kane, but that's why we signed Vincent Janssen, and he is working well. He's a striker that can give us a lot of things. That's why you sign players, to arrive in the moment when you need them at the same level."
There was better news for Spurs over the fitness of Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele, who were also withdrawn, as Pochettino claimed that the duo had suffered nothing worse than cramp.
"They only felt cramps in the hamstring, it's not that big an issue," the manager said. "When you're in different competitions, the Champions League is a different competition, we spent a lot of energy on Wednesday - it's different to the Europa League. It's new for us, so it's important to learn.
"All the players are internationals, they come back after a difficult summer, playing in the Euros, difficult holidays, pre-season and it's difficult to get fit." This had been a good weekend for Jose Mourinho cast-offs until Djilobodji attempted - and failed - to add himself to the list of names proving the former Chelsea manager wrong.
Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku continue to show that Mourinho made huge mistakes by not giving them proper chances at Stamford Bridge.
Djilobodji, though, provided evidence that a single minute of action for the Blues was probably about right by helping Tottenham on their way to three points.
It remains one of the great mysteries of the summer transfer window as to why Sunderland paid pounds 8?million for Djilobodji and there was no solving it at White Hart Lane. The 27-year-old's defending matched the visitors' pink and purple third kit - comical.
As frustration grew that Tottenham had not turned their dominance into goals, Kyle Walker sent in a cross that was headed across goal by Dele Alli straight into the path of Djilobodji.
But, having chested the ball down, the Senegal international contrived to miss what should have been a straightforward clearance and Kane coolly side-footed past Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The manner in which Sunderland conceded was particularly harsh on Pickford, who had demonstrated why he is so highly rated with a string of good saves and some smart positioning.
While it was Kane who grabbed the vital goal, it was Heung-Min Son who constantly ripped apart the Sunderland defence and provided Tottenham's biggest threat.
The South Korean hit the post in the first half and also planted a corner straight on to the head of Toby Alderweireld, but Pickford saved.
Pochettino made a host of changes from side who lost to Monaco in the Champions League, but he stuck with Son at the expense of Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela.
"I'm happy for him," Pochettino said. "His first season was tough for him, but today he was very good. His performance was fantastic. That is what we have waited for from him."
Tottenham almost allowed Son to join Wolfsburg in the summer, but Pochettino is now pleased that the forward agreed to stay and fight for his place.
"He came to see me and said, 'I need your help'," said Pochettino. "I said, 'OK, always my door is open' and we decided that he would stay.
"But it's true that after the Olympic Games his idea was to leave to go to Germany. One thing is what the player wants, the other is the club decision. In his mind, he wanted to move, but in the end he accepted to stay and fight for his position.
"I always say to all the players, the truth is on the pitch. If you deserve to play, it's not about names, it's about performances."
Despite offering very little in terms of attacking play, Sunderland almost took a shock lead on the stroke of half-time through former Tottenham winger Steven Pienaar.
Adnan Januzaj jinked his way past Dier and picked out Pienaar unmarked eight yards out, but his stabbed effort was cleared off the line by Walker.
Januzaj was sent-off in the final stages of the game after being booked for dissent and earning a needless second yellow card for a late foul on Spurs substitute Ben Davies.
Dier almost doubled Tottenham's lead before going off and substitute Lamela also went close to making the scoreline more comfortable for Pochettino's men.
Pochettino had accused his team of lacking passion following the defeat to Monaco, but was far happier with the level of commitment his players displayed against Sunderland.
"It's a good result, but, for the chances we create, it's difficult to understand why it was only 1-0," said Pochettino. "We created many chances, but OK, I'm happy with the performance and attitude, and way we played from first minute. That's the way need to play every game, not only some games."