Tottenham manager Antonio Conte said his players “need to rest, then work” after coming from behind three times in a remarkable victory over Leeds.
Rodrigo Bentancur fired Spurs level for the third time in the match via a wicked deflection off Luke Ayling, before the Uruguayan tapped in Dejan Kulusevski’s low cross to earn Conte’s team all three points.
In-form Rodrigo put Leeds ahead again, but Ben Davies snuck a shot beyond Illan Meslier and the retreating Rasmus Kristensen to restore parity for the second time.
Another smart Rodrigo strike – his fifth in four league matches – left Spurs staring at the prospect of a third straight home league defeat, but Bentancur’s late double turned the contest on its head.
“I think it’s better to see the positive side,” Conte told BBC Match of the Day. “If you ask me about the game, when my team concede three goals, I’m never happy because it means you need to improve.
“This period has been difficult because of preparing for games every two to three days. I’m really happy to have this break [for the World Cup in Qatar] because we arrived today very tired, with a lot of stress. I think for sure we have to continue to improve.”
Leeds’ misery was compounded when Tyler Adams was dismissed for a second bookable offence with three minutes remaining.
The victory consolidates Spurs’ place in the top four, while Leeds drop two places to 14th.
Spurs edge rollercoaster contest
Conte suggested after Wednesday’s Carabao Cup defeat by Nottingham Forest that Spurs’ busy pre-World Cup schedule had taken its toll on his side, who had lost four of their previous seven matches in all competitions prior to Leeds’ visit.
Slow starts have become a theme in recent weeks and Saturday’s game was no different, Summerville giving the visitors a deserved lead with only 10 minutes on the clock.
But the hosts soon started to cause Leeds problems – particularly down the right-hand side, where Pascal Struijk struggled to keep the impressive Kulusevski in check.
Kane’s seventh goal in as many home league fixtures made it 1-1, only for Rodrigo to capitalise on some questionable Spurs defending from a corner to put the visitors back ahead.
The topsy-turvy pattern continued into the second half as Davies squeezed a long-range effort into the net, before Rodrigo’s second of the game put Leeds within touching distance of a third straight league win.
But Tottenham rallied once again as Bentancur – who also scored Spurs’ late winner at Bournemouth two weeks ago – netted his fourth and fifth goals of the campaign to send the home fans into ecstasy.
Spurs have won 13 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other team.
“If we want to be competitive, conceding three goals is too much,” Conte said. “To go 1-0 down in every game is not positive. For this reason I want to see the positive side because my players showed great will and desire to win the three points.”
Defensive frailties prove Leeds’ undoing
Having recovered from 3-1 down to defeat Bournemouth last weekend, Jesse Marsch’s team were given a taste of their own medicine at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
This was a game that showcased Leeds’ technical qualities and defensive vulnerabilities in equal measure.
They could have been further ahead by the time Kane fired Spurs level for the first time in the match, Summerville having been denied by Lloris moments beforehand.
While the England captain’s strike was controversial – Leeds felt Meslier was fouled in the build-up to the goal – Kristensen and Meslier will be bitterly disappointed not to have kept out Davies’ hopeful effort, particularly after the Leeds keeper had done well to deny Kane in the build-up.
Rodrigo’s crisp finish into the far corner put Leeds on course for another memorable three points, but they let their advantage slip through their grasp yet again in the final minutes.
Adams’ clumsy, late challenge on Davinson Sanchez resulted in a second yellow card for the United States international as the Yorkshire club’s recent resurgence shuddered to a halt.
“I’m gutted, I feel like someone has ripped my heart out,” Marsch told BBC Match of the Day. “I thought we had control of the match but then we let it slip.
“There’s obviously positives in there because in our good moments we look like we have quality, but in our bad we still look vulnerable and naive.”
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