Sheffield United ensured their winless run did not stretch beyond four games in sweeping aside fellow European hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur three goals to one.
Strikes in both halves from Sander Berge, Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie earned the Blades their first victory since the Premier League restart, who were only denied a clean sheet a minute from time when Harry Kane stabbed home for the out-of-sorts visitors.
It was Tottenham that began the brighter, Serge Aurier finding Heung-Min Son but the latter’s touch evaded him – chance gone. Moussa Sissoko, meanwhile, was only able to direct his effort straight into the palms of United ‘keeper Dean Henderson.
On the half-hour they would live to rue those missed opportunities as club-record transfer Berge gathered a Chris Basham pull back to steer beyond Lloris from 8 yards and break his United duck.
The away side thought they had drawn level almost immediately with Kane picking out the bottom left hand corner but their joy would be short-lived, VAR taking centre stage just as it did when the sides met back in November and adjudging wideman Lucas Moura to have handled the ball in the lead-up.
The Blades were inches away from extending their lead with an hour played, as David McGoldrick flashed a shot into the side netting.
Substitute Mousset compiled Spurs’ misery on 69 minutes, capitalising on schoolboy defending and doubling the hosts’ advantage for his fifth of the campaign. 2-0.
Matters got even worse for Mourinho and co. when the industrious McBurnie was on hand to cap off an impressive individual display with a goal, Tottenham again at sixes and sevens in defence.
Harry Kane did etch his name onto the scoresheet and safeguard his record of netting against every top flight side he has faced but it was to be scant consolation on a night where Spurs, for all their offensive firepower, left Henderson largely untroubled.
The result sees the Blades leapfrog Arsenal into seventh, while Spurs sit two points further back in ninth.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder told press:
“We’ve not gone into our shell [after recent results], come out fighting and shown what we’re about as a football club which makes me immensely proud.
“The game might be talked about regarding the VAR decision but having a back catalogue of really poor ones that have gone against us, we shouldn’t be embarrassed when one goes in our favour.
“I don’t think anyone that has watched us this season will be surprised by the goals that we scored tonight. I’ll say it again, I would love 30,000 people to be in here tonight watching that, but it isn’t to be.”
Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho:
“It would be easy to stand here and speak about Michael Oliver’s decision, but we weren’t aggressive enough or intensive enough in the last third.
“We had time physiologically to react as a team in a different way and not let it kill us.
“Today was an opportunity today to close the gap and I think with this result, it’s very difficult to dream about Champions League.”
Sheffield United: Henderson; Basham, Egan, Robinson; Baldock, Norwood (c), Osborn, Berge, Stevens; McBurnie (K. Freeman 90+4), McGoldrick (Mousset 63).
Subs not used:
Jagielka, Rodwell, Sharp, Zivkovic, Moore.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (c); Aurier (Alli 70), Sanchez, Dier, Davies (Vertonghen 81); Sissoko (Ndombele 70), Lo Celso; Lucas, Bergwijn (Lamela 56), Son; Kane.
Subs not used:
Alderweireld, Fernandes, Skipp, Winks, Gazzaniga.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Sheffield United: Norwood, McBurnie
Sheffield United: Berge (30), Mousset (69), McBurnie (84)
Tottenham Hotspur: Kane (90)
Man of the Match: Oli McBurnie