4 things we learnt from Tottenham's win over Marseille
Richarlison celebrates opening the scoring against Marseille (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Richarlison was the hero in the opening game of the Champions League group stage for Tottenham, scoring a brace in a 2-0 win against Marseille.

The two headed goals in the final 15 minutes secured Spurs the win, but the Lilywhites left a lot to be desired with their performance.

A red card for Chancel Mbemba to start the second half had a big impact in how the match played out, with the visitors the better side before the interval.

Here are the main takeaways from Spurs' victory on Wednesday night at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Spurs need to improve if they want to progress further in the competition

This could be deemed as a controversial take for a side that ran out as the victors on their first group game in the Champions League, but Tottenham rode their luck at times on the night.

Before half time, the hosts had not registered a single shot on target, and even by the final whistle the only two times former Spur Pau Lopez had been tested resulted in goals.

Tottenham looked lethargic in the opening stages of the game, something which has been surprisingly common from the North London club so far this season.

Often the Lilywhites sat back, and were outnumbered in the midfield, where Rodrigo Bentancur in particular struggled to get into the game.

That said, they managed to bounce back, which is proof of the character that manager Antonio Conte has given his Tottenham side.

The belief and perseverance in the squad will be vital to the Lilywhites throughout the season, making for a significant difference to the Spurs sides of old that struggled to perform in the face of adversity.

Richarlison will be a key player for Spurs

If there were any doubts left about Richarlison's importance to Tottenham's squad this season, he silenced them very effectively on Wednesday night.

The attacker impressed on the weekend against Fulham, and was unfortunate to see his goal ruled out, but he did not have to wait long to get his first goal for Spurs after the setback.

The Brazilian worked tirelessly throughout the match, and got his reward for his efforts late on, scoring two wonderfully taken headers.

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How Richarlison will fit into the team is a different matter however.

There is no doubt that of the offensive starters that Tottenham have, Heung-Min Son has been the player who has struggled for form most, having not found the net this campaign so far.

Despite that, Conte has shown his faith in the South Korean, who shared the Premier League Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah last term, by continuing to pick him.

It would be reasonable to assume therefore that the Italian still believes Son can find his best form again once he gets himself on the scoresheet this season.

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The player who was replaced on the night was Dejan Kulusevski, which feels harsh on the winger, who certainly improved Spurs when he was brought on.

It will be difficult for Conte to find the perfect balance between his offensive players, but with several fixtures coming up, he will need all of them to be in top form for Spurs to have a successful season.

Marseille were naive in their approach

Marseille were the better side in the first half, and had they had more shots at Hugo Lloris, they probably would have had a good chance of scoring.

That said, they continued to waste their period of dominance before the interval on playing the ball out wide, which often allowed Spurs to get into shape.

The final ball from the French side often disappointed also.

Les Olympiens would have been able to build on their momentum in the game had they not switched off at the start of the second half, which saw Son race through and Mbemba dismissed for bringing him down.

That changed the complexion of the tie, with Igor Tudor's side under pressure for large periods of the half.

They held on well until yet another lapse in concentration left Richarlison unmarked in the box to score the opener.

This allowed Tottenham the chance to hit Marseille on the break as they tried to find an equaliser, as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was afforded the time to cross and set up his teammate's second of the night.

Overall, Marseille produced a good performance in North London, but with defensive lapses in key moments and a poor end product on the night, they paid the price for their own naivety.

Better options out wide may have produced a different score line

Often Les Phocéens were able to work the ball into wide areas very efficiently, which allowed them the time to cross, but the players providing the service were unable to deliver what was required.

Jonathan Clauss and Arsenal loanee Nuno Tavares occupied the flanks for Marseille, but when the ball was set back to them, they were unable to create any good chances for Luis Suarez or the players behind him.

It was a day to forget for the pair, who failed to get the ball into effective areas to challenge Tottenham properly despite having lots of the ball early on.

Sead Kolasinac also had a disappointing match against his former rivals, coming on with the game goalless and failing to prevent both of the crosses that led to Richarlison's goals.

Perhaps if Marseille had access to better players in wide areas, the match would have been an entirely different story.

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