London (AFP) – Tottenham’s bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League suffered a setback as Joe Willock’s late strike rescued a 2-2 draw for lowly Newcastle, while Aston Villa also aided the Magpies’ bid for survival by beating Fulham 3-1 on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho’s side were just five minutes away from moving into fourth place thanks to Harry Kane’s first-half double.
Joelinton had put Newcastle ahead and Steve Bruce’s men were rewarded for a much-improved performance when on-loan Arsenal midfielder Willock smashed in off the underside of the bar five minutes from time.
Tottenham edge ahead of Liverpool into fifth but are still two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with eight games left.
“I’m frustrated. We needed to win the match. We created some instability with so many individual defensive mistakes that we made,” Mourinho said.
Asked why Tottenham have struggled to hold onto leads when his teams have been so solid defensively in the past, Mourinho replied: “Same coach, different players.
“The Premier League is hard and is high-level football, and when in some actions you don’t show that you belong to that high level of football, it’s difficult.”
Willock’s goal could prove invaluable for fourth-bottom Newcastle as they moved three points clear of Fulham in a big day in the battle to beat the drop.
Fulham looked set to move out of the drop zone when Aleksandar Mitrovic pounced on a loose pass back by Tyrone Mings to score his first league goal since September.
Villa had looked devoid of ideas without talisman Jack Grealish due to injury.
But Dean Smith’s men suddenly sparked into life to score three times in the final 12 minutes.
Mings made amends by teeing up substitute Trezeguet to slot home from the edge of the box.
Three minutes later the Egyptian swept home at the back post for his second of the game before Ollie Watkins tapped home from Bertrand Traore’s cross to round off the scoring.
– Saints alive –
Earlier on Sunday, Southampton took a huge step towards survival with a 3-2 victory over fellow strugglers Burnley.
The Saints are now 10 points clear of the relegation zone with eight games left after a dramatic fightback.
Chris Wood’s penalty and Matej Vydra put the visitors 2-0 up inside 28 minutes.
But Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side hit back impressively as Stuart Armstrong and Danny Ings scored before half-time.
Nathan Redmond bagged the 66th-minute winner when he volleyed home from Theo Walcott’s cross.
“These points were important,” Hasenhuttl said. “When you see five goals it’s always good for TV, but not so good for the hearts of the managers.”
After only their second league win in 13 games, FA Cup semi-finalists Southampton are three points above Burnley, who sit seven points ahead of Fulham.
Second-placed Manchester United take on Brighton at Old Trafford in Sunday’s late match looking to close the 17-point gap to runaway leaders Manchester City.