Tottenham stopped the rot, claimed their first points since August and Nuno Espirito Santo stepped into another international break with a sigh of relief.
It has been a heavy month for the Spurs boss, but he greeted this victory without a trace of emotion.
Nuno turned to Dean Smith, offered a handshake and strode out to offers his congratulations to his players and his applause to the home crowd.
Tottenham claimed their first Premier League points since August on Sunday afternoon by beating Aston Villa
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg gave the hosts the lead, collecting Son Heung-min’s pass and then curling home a delicious finish
Ollie Watkins however restored parity in the second half, given the simplest of finishes from Matt Targett’s low cross
But just four minutes later Spurs were back ahead when Targett put Son’s cross through his own net under pressure from Lucas Moura
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Lloris 6; Royal 6.5, Romero 7, Dier 7, Reguilon 6; Hojbjerg 7.5, Skipp 7; Moura 6.5 (Gil 90), Ndombele 6 (Lo Celso 76, 6.5), Son 8.5; Kane 7
Subs not used: Gollini, Doherty, Sanchez, Winks, Rodon, Alli, Scarlett.
Goals: Hojbjerg 27, Targett OG 71.
Bookings: Skipp, Romero.
Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo 6.5
Aston Villa (3-5-2): Martinez 6; Konsa 6.5, Hause 7 (Traore 81), Mings 6; Cash 6.5, McGinn 7, Luiz 6, Ramsey 6.5 (Buendia 69, 5), Targett 6.5; Watkins 7, Ings 6 (Archer 90).
Subs not used: Steer, Tuanzebe, Young, Nakamba, El Ghazi, Philogene-Bidace.
Goals: Watkins 67.
Manager: Dean Smith 6
Referee: Chris Kavanagh 6
They are not fluent and there are still no goals in the Premier League for Harry Kane but to avoid defeat was vital and to win again was even better.
Heung-min Son was outstanding and created both goals, the first scored by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg supplied the first goal and the winner, 19 minutes from time, credited as an own goal by Aston Villa defender Matt Targett.
In between, Ollie Watkins equaliser and the visitors played their part in an enjoyable contest.
Villa’s win here in May encapsulated Tottenham’s shambolic end to last season. Ryan Mason was in caretaker control and there were protests from home fans inside the ground. Less than five months on and the protesters were back, hanging their ENIC-out banners from the railings in the High Road before kick-off.
Spurs started poorly, forced back by Villa’s energy, apprehensive in the face of confident visitors but slowly grew into the game with flickers of promise from Son Heung-min, wide on the left. One swift turn left Matty Cash in his wake, triggering a spell of pressure during which Harry Kane almost found the net from 45 yards.
Tanguy Ndombele won a free-kick just inside the Villa half and Kane spotted his chance quickly and went for goal sending a ripple of excitement around the ground as, for a split second, it appeared like it might clear Emi Martinez who was off his line.
But the goalkeeper was alert to the danger, scrambled back hastily, leapt and reached the ball at full stretch, somewhere near the penalty spot.
Son fired wide from distance, before his run and pass set up Hojbjerg to score with a precise finish, curled inside a post from just outside the penalty box.
It was only Tottenham’s fifth goal of the Premier League campaign, and only the fourth from open play, the other three all scored by Son.
The relief was palpable in the celebrations but Villa produced a response, forcing Spurs to defend a barrage of set-pieces, including the long-throws sent spiralling into the box from either flank by right-back Cash.
John McGinn lashed a crisp volley narrowly wide from 25 yards and Tottenham conjured a series of vital blocks and clearances to protect their lead.
Oliver Skipp hooked clear to deny Danny Ings, early in the second half, although Villa’s determined search for an equaliser exposed their defence, producing openings for the home team, who looked happiest when breaking out of defence on the counter-attack.
The win relieved the pressure on Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo, who had seen his side lost three on the trot in the league
The South Korean delivered an inspired performance in north London, with Villa’s defence unable to cope with his runs
After a bright Villa start, it was Spurs who took the lead when Hojbjerg found space on the edge of the box to curl home
John McGinn went extremely close with a sumptuous volley as Villa looked to respond having gone a goal behind
Spurs spurned chances in the rest of the half and in the second before Watkins tapped home an equaliser at the near post
All of which made for a breathless end-to-end spectacle. Son was particularly threatening in the space behind Cash. The Korean forced a save and sent another effort flashing wide but the visitors were next to strike, drawing level in the 67th minute.
It was a slick sequence of passing through Jacob Ramsey and Ings to Targett, who tore forward on the left and found Watkins with a low cross.
Watkins gave Hugo Lloris no chance but Spurs restored their lead within four minutes. Again, it was Son causing the problems for Villa, sprinting clear down the left, shimmied past Kortney Hause and pulled the ball square.
With Martinez marooned by the cross, Lucas Moura raced Targett in a sprint at the back post and bundled into the open goal. Moura thought he had scored his first goal since February but it went down as an own goal by Targett.
But Tottenham would not be denied as they were ahead again after one of many brilliant runs from Son on the left-hand side
Harry Kane also had chances to get his first league goal of the season but was denied by Emi Martinez in the Villa goal
At the other end, Danny Ings was also denied by Hugo Lloris following a left foot effort after missing his initial attempt
But Villa were in truth second best in north London and failed to show the best of their attacking talent against Spurs
RE-LIVE SPORTSMAIL’S COVERAGE OF SPURS’ WIN WITH KISHAN VAGHELA