Tottenham moved up to third place in the Barclays Premier League after returning to winning ways with a 1-0 victory against Sunderland at White Hart Lane.
Harry Redknapp's men failed to test Sunderland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood in a dull first half, but they sprung to life on the hour and took the lead through substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko's fierce drive.
Pavlyuchenko, a 27th-minute replacement for Aaron Lennon after he was forced off with a hamstring problem, wasted a glorious chance in the last minute of the first half when he volleyed wide from Scott Parker's cross while unmarked in the box.
But he made amends just after the hour mark when he collected a delicate pass from Rafael Van der Vaart and fired a powerful low shot past Westwood for his first league strike of the season.
Sunderland would have taken something from the game had it not been for Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who saved well from Sebastian Larsson and Kieran Richardson, while Luka Modric missed a gilt-edged chance to make it 2-0 at the other end, blazing over an open goal deep inside the second period.
The victory, which came a week after Spurs' 11-match unbeaten run ended at Stoke, means they are now two points ahead of Chelsea ahead of the London derby between the two sides on Thursday. Sunderland stay in 16th position, a point above the relegation zone.