Harry Kane was left out of the squad as Son Heung-Min’s strike saw Tottenham kick off the Nuno Espirito Santo era with a superb 1-0 victory at home to champions Manchester City.
The England captain has been the subject of transfer interest from Pep Guardiola’s Citizens throughout the summer and was conspicuous by his absence in a hard-fought encounter.
Kane only returned to training on Friday and the official line was that he wasn’t even fit enough to feature on the bench. It initially looked like the Lilywhites would rue his exclusion as they struggled to make the most of some excellent first-half counter attacks until Son conjured up a moment of magic when he cut inside to rifle home on the break on 55 minutes.
The visitors had dominated for much of the opening period and made a fast-paced start with Jack Grealish looking dynamic and dangerous on his Premier League bow for City.
Fernandinho and Riyad Mahrez both went close for the champions while at the other end Lucas Moura had a shot blocked on the line.
However, City lacked urgency following the interval and showed just why they are in the market for a striker as they struggled to test Hugo Lloris. Spurs were always a threat on the counter and could have won more handsomely but Steven Bergwijn fizzed a glorious chance into the side netting.
Man City will now aim to bounce back at home to Premier League newcomers Norwich next Saturday. Spurs have a Europa Conference League qualifying play off at Pacos de Ferreira on Thursday before Nuno visits his old club Wolves on Sunday.