Tottenham climbed to the top of the Premier League as they recovered from Yves Bissouma’s dismissal for diving to earn a 1-0 win against lowly Luton on Saturday.
Bissouma was sent off just before half-time for his needless second booking at Kenilworth Road.
But Micky van de Ven’s first goal for the club soon after the interval clinched unbeaten Tottenham’s sixth win in eight league games.
Ange Postecoglou’s side sit two points clear of second placed Manchester City, who travel to title rivals Arsenal on Sunday.
“We showed a lot of character and resilience. We started really well, should have been three or four up, but then you get the red card and it is a different type of game,” Postecoglou said.
“I thought we held it together really well. In the end we get three points at a difficult place to go.”
The north Londoners’ superb start to Postecoglou’s first season in charge have awoken dreams of an unexpected title challenge.
While that may yet prove beyond Tottenham, the Australian has undoubtedly had a huge impact on a club that was in turmoil when he arrived from Celtic.
A toxic combination of Tottenham’s poor results and dour displays, combined with Harry Kane’s close-season move to Bayern Munich, left many expecting another season of turmoil, but Postecoglou has worked wonders to steady the ship.
He had already earned plaudits for energising Tottenham with his attacking tactics, but this gritty performance will have been equally pleasing.
It is the best unbeaten start any Tottenham manager has ever made and, with fixtures against Fulham and Crystal Palace up next, they could extend their unbeaten start through the rest of October.
“The players want to change the destiny of this football club and that is what they are trying to do on the pitch,” Postecoglou said.
“It’s going alright, but we’re in October and still have a lot of work to do.”
In their first meeting with Tottenham since a goalless draw in 1992, struggling Luton found it impossible to get a foothold in a blistering start from the visitors.
Richarlison should have put Tottenham ahead in the opening moments, but he scuffed wastefully over.
The Brazilian squandered another good chance seconds later with a low shot that lacked the power and accuracy to Luton keeper Thomas Kaminski, who saved with his foot.
Son was next to threaten as Tottenham laid siege to Kaminski’s goal, with the South Korean curling wide from inside the area, then forcing a smart stop from the over-worked keeper.
As Tottenham monopolised possession, Dejan Kulusevski’s strike was tipped away by Kaminski.
After benefitting from the VAR mistake that saw Liverpool’s Luis Diaz denied a legitimate goal in last weekend’s win over the Reds, Tottenham were aided by correct use of the system this time.
VAR stepped in to rule out Luton’s goal late in the first half when Luton’s Elijah Adebayo shoved Cristian Romero before heading against the far post for Tom Lockyer to nod home the rebound.
Tottenham were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half-time when Bissouma, already booked for fouling Chiedozie Ogbene, blatantly dived in an attempt to win a free-kick after Marvelous Nakamba’s challenge.
Referee John Brooks wasn’t fooled by Bissouma’s attempted deception and immediately showed a second yellow card to the Mali midfielder.
Adebayo should have made Luton’s numerical advantage pay off straight after half-time, but he shot woefully wide from close-range after being picked out by Ogbene’s cross.
That miss proved the turning point as Tottenham took the lead in the 52nd minute.
James Maddison’s determined run took him to the byline and he pulled the ball back to Van de Ven, who applied the finishing touch with a deft finish from six yards.
Carlton Morris squandered Luton’s best chances to equalise in quick succession, dragging his shot wide from a good position before firing straight at Tottenham keeper Guglielmo Vicario.