Dele Alli was determined to keep cool to avoid playing into Newcastle’s hands as Tottenham opened their Premier League campaign with a 2-0 victory at St James’ Park.
While Alli focused on the task at hand, the England midfielder was involved in the pivotal incident of the match when his ankle was stood on by Jonjo Shelvey three minutes into the second half.
Referee Andre Marriner did not hesitate to show Shelvey a straight red and Alli had the last laugh as he opened the scoring just after the hour mark before Ben Davies made sure of the win in the 70th minute.
Alli, though, has been rebuked in the past after letting his temper get the better of him so he had a degree of sympathy for Shelvey.
He told Sky Sports: “It’s one of those things but he’s a great player and I’m sure he’s going to be disappointed.
“I’ve been caught out a couple of times for my temper but it’s something I like to keep to my game.
“It was a game where we had to keep our cool, we didn’t want to get too heated up and get brought into what they wanted us to do, which was make it more of a physical game and a battle than a game of football.
“It was important that we just kept the ball moving, I don’t think there was any need to react today. I was happy with the performance and the win.”
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino handed a debut to Kyle Walker-Peters, curiously a direct replacement for Kyle Walker, who moved to Manchester City in the off-season.
Walker-Peters, a World Cup winner with England Under-20s over the summer, said: “Playing here, it’s a fantastic stadium and most importantly we got the three points, got a good start in the league.
“I’m happy. I found out (I was playing) yesterday. I was a bit nervy but nerves are good.”