Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 2, Watford 1.
Tottenham 2-1 Watford: Mauricio Pochettino pleased to end 'difficult week' with win
Manager Mauricio Pochettino said it was "so important to smile" again after Tottenham bounced back from two cup exits with victory over Watford at Wembley.
After Craig Cathcart's 38th-minute opener, Spurs scored twice in the final 10 minutes - Son Heung-min, back from the Asian Cup, equalising before Fernando Llorente nodded in an 87th-minute winner.
"It arrived late, but we kept pushing. It was a fantastic second-half performance. The first half, it was difficult to create chances - we dominated, but didn't create.
"It's fantastic to win again. After a difficult week it's so important to smile. The mentality is perfect."
His mood was very different when Cathcart headed home Jose Holebas' out-swinging corner seven minutes before the break.
Tottenham increased the pressure in the second half. Llorente, deputising for injured leading striker Harry Kane, twice had great opportunities to score but missed from close range before Son Heung-min lifted the home support when he thrashed home from 12 yards out.
But with full-time fast approaching, Llorente finally hit the target when he guided Danny Rose's hanging ball past Ben Foster.
Spurs remain in third but are now only two points behind defending champions Manchester City and seven behind leaders Liverpool.
Watford stay in ninth.
Llorente's day ends on a high
Llorente was set to hog the headlines for the wrong reasons before his late winner.
The 33-year-old has largely been ineffective as a 'Plan B' for Spurs' attack since his £12m move from Swansea in 2017, and after missing two glorious opportunities against Watford it seemed that this would be another day to forget.
The first of those saw him knee a shot over the bar after his initial strike was superbly blocked by Foster, and the second was a header from four yards that he directed into the side-netting.
But Pochettino chose to persevere with him, and three minutes before the end of normal time Llorente hit the sweet spot with an angled header that found the far corner.
Son shines, but another Lloris lapse
Llorente's fellow forward Son, in contrast, is becoming one of the team's more consistent performers. The South Korean produced yet another energetic performance, which was all the more impressive because he only returned from the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.
He made the most sprints of any of his team-mates - 17 - with the most crucial coming in the 80th minute when he latched on to the loose ball after Llorente lost control and thumped home a ferocious shot. It was his 13th goal of the season.
He had earlier gone close with a superb turn and shot from 20 yards in the first half, which whistled past Foster's right-hand post.
Lloris might not be as jubilant as Llorente and Son following another mistake which resulted in Cathcart's opener.
His error in July's World Cup final was the most high profile, but he has experienced lapses in judgement since - against Barcelona and then PSV Eindhoven. This latest mistake might have some Spurs fans questioning whether he is the right number one for their team.
Lloris was all at sea when he failed to fully commit himself to meeting Holebas' corner, which gave Cathcart the simple task of nodding into an unguarded net.
Hornets fail to hang on
Watford were a little more than 10 minutes away from their first league double over Tottenham.
Aside from Cathcart's effort, they rarely threatened Lloris' goalmouth in a match where their defensive qualities were tested.
Both full-backs Daryl Janmaat and Holebas impressed both at the back and in attack, while centre-half Ben Wilmot produced the block of the match when he deflected Rose's shot off the line having only been on the pitch for a minute.
Man of the match - Son Heung-min (Tottenham)
Spurs the 'no-draw specialists' - the stats
- Tottenham (54 points) have at least four more points after 24 Premier League games than they have ever had at this stage of the competition.
- Only against Arsenal (nine) and Manchester United (10) have Watford lost more Premier League games than they have against Spurs (eight).
- Watford have now lost four straight matches at Wembley, only Brentford (five), Shrewsbury Town (five) and Newcastle United (seven) are on longer current losing runs.
- Tottenham have now matched Bolton's Premier League record of the most consecutive matches without a draw in the competition (28 - W21 L7).
- Spurs have netted 13 headed goals in the Premier League in 2018-19, their most in a single top-flight season since 1999-00, when they scored 16 under manager George Graham.
- Watford's Cathcart is the first defender to score both home and away against Tottenham within the same Premier League season since Per Mertesacker did so for Arsenal in 2012-13.
Tottenham host Newcastle on Saturday (12:30 GMT) and Watford travel to Brighton on the same day (15:00 GMT).
- 6D Sánchez
- 5VertonghenSubstituted forLamelaat 79'minutes
- 24AurierSubstituted forLucas Mouraat 45'minutes
- 17SissokoSubstituted forTrippierat 69'minutes
- 7Son Heung-Min
- 27Lucas Moura
- 6MariappaBooked at 46mins
- 25HolebasBooked at 90mins
- 8CleverleySubstituted forWilmotat 66'minutes
- 29CapoueBooked at 74mins
- 7DeulofeuSubstituted forSuccessat 61'minutesBooked at 90mins
- Graham Scott
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 2, Watford 1.
Isaac Success (Watford) is shown the yellow card.
José Holebas (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by José Holebas (Watford).
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Davinson Sánchez.
Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 2, Watford 1. Fernando Llorente (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Danny Rose with a cross.
Foul by Fernando Llorente (Tottenham Hotspur).
Etienne Capoue (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Watford. Roberto Pereyra tries a through ball, but Isaac Success is caught offside.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Danny Rose.
Attempt blocked. Davinson Sánchez (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Kieran Trippier with a cross.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Will Hughes.
Attempt blocked. Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).
Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 1, Watford 1. Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Fernando Llorente.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Erik Lamela replaces Jan Vertonghen.