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 By John Crace

Hugo Lloris 8/10 for settling nervy Spurs to clinch Champions League spot

A curling right-foot shot from the edge of the box on 50 minutes by Harry Kane was enough to secure the three points that guarantees Tottenham Champions League football for a third successive season. No mean feat given both the budget and Spurs having to play all their home games at Wembley.

The match began scrappily, with Newcastle creating the better chances, and Tottenham were fortunate to go into the break level. Even Kane's goal did little to settle the home team's nerves, and Spurs were grateful just to grind out a result. Now to complete the job on Sunday by getting the win against Leicester to secure third place.

Positives

Getting the job done. Spurs know they are a long way from their best, and in recent games there have been fears that they might let Champions League football slip from their grasp. But this time they did enough to get over the line by winning ugly.

Negatives

Tottenham looked ragged in defence and lacking in creativity in attack for large periods of the game. Their build-up play was often conducted at little more than walking pace. Several key players look desperately tired and short of confidence.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Mauricio Pochettino cut a frustrated figure on the touchline for long periods as his players laboured to break down a Newcastle side that was unexpectedly competitive given they had nothing to play for. He'd promised before the game that his players would be prepared to "die" to force the win, but there were few signs of his team rising to the challenge. Both he and his players look in need of a break after a demanding season, and Pochettino deserves credit for doing just about enough to end on a high.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Hugo Lloris, 8 -- Made one world-class save midway through the first half to keep Spurs in the game and looked far more secure than he has of late. Did well to marshal a nervy defence.

DF Kieran Trippier, 6 -- Never really managed to deliver a telling ball into the box despite numerous opportunities. He also looked uncharacteristically tentative in defence and was frequently beaten for pace down his right flank.

DF Davinson Sanchez, 7 -- Made a couple of key blocks and did just about enough in the second half to limit the visitors to a couple of half-chances. Was prone to giving the ball away cheaply.

DF Jan Vertonghen, 7 -- The linchpin of the defence as he has been all season, though his understanding with Sanchez is not quite as solid as it was a couple of months back. Put his body on the line and came up with several last-ditch tackles.

DF Ben Davies, 6 -- OK defensively but failed to make any real impression going forward and seemed to have little rapport with the midfield. As a result Spurs created almost nothing from the left.

MF Victor Wanyama, 6 -- Brought in for Eric Dier who was unwell, Wanyama had a mixed game. Some of his defending was reassuringly solid, but gave the ball away too often with careless distribution.

MF Moussa Sissoko, 6 -- Did a reasonable job in breaking up play but added nothing creatively. His first instinct is still to go sideways or backwards, and he lacks the pace to get past opponents.

MF Son Heung-Min, 5 -- His worst game for quite some time. His touch and speed have deserted him, and all too often he allowed himself to be bullied off the ball. Had one clear chance on goal but shot tamely at the keeper.

MF Christian Eriksen, 6 -- Went close early on with a free-kick but thereafter his timing was uncharacteristically off, with many of his passes going astray. Faded out of the game and made little impact in the second half.

MF Dele Alli, 6 -- A frustrating night. None of his flicks and tricks came off as Newcastle consistently denied him any space in the middle of the pitch. Never stopped running but with little end result.

FW Harry Kane, 7 -- You can forgive a man who scores such a vital goal with so sure a strike almost anything, but the fact remains that Kane is still way below par. He is short of pace and unusually hesitant in front of goal. Fluffed a glorious opening from a through ball late in the first half.

Substitutes

MF Erik Lamela, NR -- Kept possession well when under pressure and teed up Danny Rose for the chance that should have put the game to bed.

DF Toby Alderweireld, NR -- Did all that was required of him to close down the Newcastle defence. He is going to be much missed if he leaves the club at the end of the season.

MF Danny Rose, NR -- Brought on to shore up midfield when Wanyama went off late on. Missed the opportunity to add a second when clean through on goal.

John Crace is one of ESPN FC's Tottenham bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @JohnJCrace.

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