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Soccer-Dier gives Pochettino dream start with Tottenham

Reuters

By Mike Collett

LONDON, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur's 10th manager in 14 years began the club's latest chapter with a 1-0 victory at London rivals West Ham United in the Premier League on Saturday thanks to their new central defender Eric Dier.

Mauricio Pochettino's side dug deep after having fullback Kyle Naughton harshly sent off in the first half for handball and rode their luck when West Ham midfielder Mark Noble wasted the resulting penalty at Upton Park.

West Ham, who beat Spurs three times last season, also went down to 10 men when James Collins saw red just past the hour mark before Dier, who came through Sporting Lisbon's ranks after moving to Portugal from England, struck in added time.

"It is an important win. I will say congratulations to my players because it was a great performance," said Argentine Pochettino, who joined Tottenham after an impressive 18 months at Southampton.

"After the penalty and the sending-off of Kyle Naughton it was difficult but we played like a team and deserved the win."

Naughton appeared unlucky to be dismissed when he inadvertently blocked Kevin Nolan's shot after 28 minutes.

"The red card for Naughton was a surprise because the ball was not on target. It was a penalty but not a sending-off and it is possible the club will appeal," Pochettino said.

Spurs have been quiet in the transfer window with Pochettino relying largely on the squad that finished sixth last term.

He offered a rare start to fellow Argentine Erik Lamela, who was virtually anonymous last season after becoming the club's record signing when the forward joined from AS Roma, but it was 20-year-old Dier who made all the headlines.

"He does not play as a centre-forward in training, but he took the goal very well," Pochettino said of the England under-21 international who moved to Portugal when he was 10.

Defeat, especially against Tottenham, was the worst possible start for West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, who is under pressure to win over the fans who criticised his brand of football last season when the Hammers flirted with relegation.

"We had enough chances to win this game when it was 11 v 11, 11 v 10 and 10 v 10. But we didn't take our chances when we created them and paid the ultimate price in the end," he told reporters. "We created 20 chances today and didn't take any." (Writing by Martyn Herman; editing by Ken Ferris)

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