Spurs hit four as Pochettino’s second string shine
With one eye on Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City, a much-changed Tottenham side hit relegated Huddersfield for four at the new Lane
13 April, 2019 — By Dan Carrier
SPURS 4 (Wanyama 24, Moura 26, 86, 90)
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0
THE visitors may have already been relegated, and treated the trip to the new White Hart Lane with an air of Spring-break tourists coming to see what all the fuss is about, but you still have to beat what’s in front of you – and today’s thumpingly enjoyable 4-0 win showed how, despite the grumblings over lack of squad depth, and the failure to improve the rosta over two transfer windows, Mauricio Pochettino’s second-stringers can play with no lack of style.
Lucas Moura was the last person to sign on the dotted line for Pochettino, and has flitted in and out of the first team ever since joining from Paris St Germain in January, 2018. But today, with Harry Kane out until the summer, and Dele Alli nursing a broken hand, it was his turn to show what he could do.
The answer was score a hat-trick and turn in a performance that was thrilling to watch.
He was not alone, as a host of reservists joined the fray, with Davinson Sanchez, Juan Foyth and Kyle Walker Peters coming in at the back, Victor Wanyama making a rare start, and Fernando Llorente leading the line. They all did excellently, and showed that there are still some spare parts in the squad’s locker that can be relied on.
Speaking after the game, Pochettino said: “I am happy for Lucas. It will help build up his confidence.”
And he cited how players like Moura have big roles to play as the season comes to an exciting finale for the club, with a battle to keep in the top four on and the possibility of an appearance in the Champions League semi-final if they can hold their nerve against Manchester City on Wednesday.
He added: “We are in a very tough period, with two games against Manchester City and then Brighton. It is going to be tough and we need all our available players fit. We feel we have the capacity to perform how we want and we will be close to achieving the things we are aiming for.”
If today’s superb display is anything to go by, his squad have no fears over the task they face.
After 24 minutes of dominance, Wanyama opened the scoring. A slide-rule ball into Llorente’s feet on the edge of the box saw the Spanish frontman hold off defenders and allow the ball to run across his body. Wanyama strode into the box, sold Town keeper Ben Hamer a dummy and tapped home.
Two minutes later it was two. This time, Moussa Sissoko carried the ball forward with purpose and laid it off for Moura. Moura, wide on the right, drove his shot across Hamer, hitting it with enough power to offer the man between the sticks no chance.
It was celebratory, exhibition stuff from then on in.
Llorente struck the bar, Christian Eriksen hit a post, and some wonderful push-and-run football saw multiple chances created when the mood took the team.
And then, as the clock ticked down, Brazilian Moura decided to turn it on.
He struck Tottenham’s third on 86, latching onto an Eriksen cross, taking a touch to get it under control before unleashing a precision strike. In stoppage time, he had the energy levels to track substitute Heung Min Son’s break. Son played him in on the right and this time he chose to strike the ball first time and smash home a perfect finish.
While this team will not be the same 11 who face Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-final second leg on Wednesday, they sent a message to fans that read: we may not get much time on the pitch, but if you need us, we’re ready.
Spurs: Lloris, Foyth, Davies, Walker Peters, Sanchez, Vertonghen (Rose, 84), Eriksen, Moura, Llorente (Son, 86) Sissoko (Skipp, 73), Wanyama.
Subs: Gazzaniga, Trippier, Alderweireld, Marsh.