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 By Alex Crook

Manolo Gabbiadini injury caps miserable afternoon for Southampton

Southampton's two-match winning run came to an end as they went down to a 2-1 defeat against former manager Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham on Sunday.

First half strikes from Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli from the penalty spot gave the visitors an uphill task before England newcomer James Ward-Prowse reduced the deficit.

Claude Puel's men made Tottenham work hard for the win in the second half but could not find the elusive equaliser.

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SouthamptonSouthampton
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Positives

After being criticised for his boring style for much of the season, Puel has at last made Southampton entertaining to watch.

This was a much better performance than when Saints were thrashed 4-1 by Spurs in December so that shows how far they have come.

Negatives

In-form striker Manolo Gabbiadini hobbled off with a groin injury early on and could be out for a few weeks, which would be a major blow.

Southampton looked toothless without their star man. The only crumb of comfort is that top scorer Charlie Austin is close to making his comeback from a dislocated shoulder.

Manager rating out of 10

7 -- Puel named the same team for a fourth match running and was rewarded by a battling performance from his troops.

The only criticism of his new free-flowing style is that Southampton suddenly look vulnerable at the back.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Fraser Forster, 6 -- Made a couple of good saves early on and was powerless to prevent either Tottenham goal. A more confident display than of late.

DF Cedric Soares, 6 -- Got up and down the right wing well and forced Hugo Lloris into a save with a fierce shot.

DF Maya Yoshida, 5 -- Not his best showing and struggled to deal with Tottenham's Harry Kane stand-in Son Heung-Min.

DF Jack Stephens, 5 -- Given a tough ride by the movement of Alli and Eriksen, The weak link at the back.

DF Ryan Bertrand, 7 -- His duel with England teammate Kyle Walker was a good watch. Supplied the cross for Ward-Prowse's well-taken goal.

MF Oriol Romeu, 8 -- Gave as good as he got in fascinating midfield battle with Southampton old-boy Victor Wanyama.

MF Steven Davis, 5 -- Clumsy challenge to concede the penalty converted by Alli. Not at his best.

MF James Ward-Prowse, 8 -- Full of confidence after England call-up. Dispatched his goal expertly.

MF Dusan Tadic, 6 -- Linked up well with Gabbiadini in the early exchanges but showed little after the Italian went off.

MF Nathan Redmond, 7 -- Always a threat with his pace.

FW Manolo Gabbiadini, 6 -- Looked sharp until forced off. Southampton face an anxious wait to discover how long he will be sidelined for.

Substitutes:

FW Sofiane Boufal, 5 -- Could not do much right.

FW Jay Rodriguez, N/R -- No time to get make an impact.

FW Shane Long, 6 -- Does not pose the same goal threat as Gabbiadini.

Alex Crook is ESPN FC's Southampton blogger. Follow him on Twitter @alex_crook

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