Tim Sherwood’s future at the Tottenham helm may be less than certain, but his side’s comprehensive defeat of Sunderland means the fate of Gus Poyet’s side is becoming increasingly clear.
Scorers: Tottenham Hotspur - Adebayor (28, 86), Kane (59), Eriksen (78), Sigurdsson (90); Sunderland - Cattermole (17)
The pre-match build-up was dominated by a report earlier in the day that Sherwood would be replaced as Spurs boss this summer, regardless of how results went between now and the end of the campaign.
By that reckoning, this impressive 5-1 comeback win will have little impact on his future, although the same cannot be said for Sunderland, who may have two games in hand on many of their rivals but languish bottom of the table and seven points adrift of safety.
Spurs began brightly, with Vito Mannone having to backtrack to tip over a deflected Christian Eriksen cross.
However, for all of the hosts’ good play, Sunderland came close after 14 minutes when a powerful Wes Brown header went just wide of the far post.
Three minutes later, Spurs farcically gifted Sunderland the lead. Vlad Chiriches collected a poor return pass from Hugo Lloris and continued to play the ball into no-man’s land, where Lee Cattermole capitalised with excellent composure to slot home from 25 yards.
Kyle Naughton then flashed a long-range effort into the side-netting as Spurs upped the ante, before Emmanuel Adebayor scooped over after a Kane attempt was blocked by Santiago Vergini’s hand. No penalty was awarded but Tottenham soon managed to eke out a leveller thanks to their returning top scorer, with Eriksen’s fine ball bundled home at the back post by Adebayor.
Adam Johnson had an early half-chance when play resumed for the second half and Sherwood was incensed when Harry Kane wriggled free in the box before being taken down by Carlos Cuellar.
The Spurs boss’s touchline antics were being matched by counterpart Poyet, who had Phil Bardsley to thank for a last-ditch tackle that stopped Eriksen slotting home a fizzing Aaron Lennon cross.
The home side were getting a lot of joy down the flanks and it bore fruit in the 58th minute. Eriksen was again the provider as he whipped in a fine ball for Kane to prod home his first Premier League goal – followed-up soon after by a collision that required a bandage to his head.
Substitute Ignacio Scocco hit the side-netting on a rare Sunderland voyage forward, before Eriksen put the game out of reach with a strike that took a slight deflection off Bardsley on its way in.
Adebayor added a fourth after Kane’s strike squirmed through Mannone’s grasp, with the Sunderland goalkeeper beaten again in stoppage time by substitute Gylffi Sigurdsson.
Tottenham: Lloris, Naughton, Rose, Paulinho (Veljkovic -88), Chiriches, Kaboul, Lennon (Townsend 84), Chadli (Sigurdsson 82), Kane, Adebayor, Eriksen.
Sunderland: Mannone, Bardsley, Alonso, Brown, Cuéllar (Gardner 72), Vergini, Cattermole (Scocco 72), Ki, Johnson, Borini, Bridcutt.