Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 5, Sunderland 1.
Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Sunderland
Tottenham produced a superb performance to increase the pressure on Sunderland.
The league's bottom side began well when Lee Cattermole punished a defensive error, but Spurs levelled soon after when Emmanuel Adebayor converted Christian Eriksen's cross.
Eriksen then supplied the ball for Harry Kane's tap-in before he got on the scoresheet with a low strike.
Adebayor poked in his second after Vito Mannone had saved Kane's shot before Gylfi Sigurdsson smashed in a fifth.
Although Spurs were not undeserving of the 5-1 scoreline, they owed their crushing win to poor Sunderland defending as much as a great attacking display.
A fourth successive defeat for the Black Cats means they remain seven points off safety with only two games in hand over Norwich and one over West Brom, who occupy 17th and 16th respectively.
They now face a huge struggle to survive and the way his side capitulated at White Hart Lane might have led Gus Poyet to doubt his side's chances.
The visitors made a great start on a very wet night in north London thanks to a horrible Spurs error.
Romanian defender Vlad Chiriches played a one-two with his keeper Hugo Lloris and then elected to play the ball to team-mate Younes Kaboul, unaware Cattermole was lurking.
The Black Cats midfielder, who had not scored in the previous 112 games, pounced on the loose pass and placed the ball just inside the post.
However, Tottenham were level 11 minutes later. Eriksen, arguably the best player on the pitch, delivered a teasing cross from the left that Wes Brown tried to clear only to see it ricochet in off Adebayor.
Kane scored his first Premier League goal after the break. Eriksen was again the supply line, finding the 20-year-old Englishman with an in-swinging ball that was tucked away from close range.
The Dane was pulling the strings in attack and moments later demonstrated his own ability in front of goal with well-placed sidefoot effort past Mannone.
Sunderland were then caught out again in defence, when Brown's attempt to head the ball clear found Kane, whose shot was saved by the Sunderland keeper only for Adebayor to touch in.
And deep into injury time, substitute Sigurdsson extended the advantage with a thumping finish.
This huge win will temper the pre-match speculation surrounding Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood's future.
A run of three defeats in the last four league games, reports strongly linking Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal to the job and a club statement released earlier in the day helped intensify that speculation.
But Sherwood dismissed the hullabaloo, stating he was focused on the first of his "six cup finals". Five more similar performances would help his cause.
- 8PaulinhoSubstituted forVeljkovicat 88'minutes
- 7LennonSubstituted forTownsendat 84'minutes
- 21ChadliSubstituted forG Sigurdssonat 82'minutes
- 22G Sigurdsson
- 30Guimarães Cordeiro
- 28AlonsoBooked at 21mins
- 24CuéllarSubstituted forGardnerat 72'minutes
- 33CattermoleBooked at 42minsSubstituted forScoccoat 72'minutes
- 4Ki Sung-yueng
- Lee Mason
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 5, Sunderland 1.
Attempt missed. Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Andros Townsend following a corner.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Craig Gardner.
Attempt blocked. Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Emmanuel Adebayor.
Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 5, Sunderland 1. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from very close range to the top left corner. Assisted by Younes Kaboul following a set piece situation.
Hand ball by Santiago Vergini (Sunderland).
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Milos Veljkovic replaces Paulinho.
Attempt saved. Craig Gardner (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 4, Sunderland 1. Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner.
Attempt saved. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Andros Townsend replaces Aaron Lennon.
Attempt blocked. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Vlad Chiriches.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Gylfi Sigurdsson replaces Nacer Chadli.
Attempt saved. Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nacer Chadli.
Attempt saved. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Danny Rose.
Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 3, Sunderland 1. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nacer Chadli.
Foul by Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur).
Liam Bridcutt (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Vlad Chiriches (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.