Moura scores screamer as Spurs see off Norwich
Monday, 6th December 2021 — By Dan Carrier at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
TOTTENHAM 3 (Moura 10, Sanchez 67, Son 77)
NORWICH CITY 0
AS the Tottenham players stroked the ball about with minutes remaining on the clock and a comfortable 3-0 win against Norwich City secure, the fans found their voices and the name of Antonio Conte rang out.
The Italian has been at the helm for a month, overseen three wins and a draw in the league – albeit against limited opponents – and pushed Spurs two points off fourth, with a game in hand.
His arrival has helped to stabilised the team, and he has given underperforming players and the chairman some frank assessments of where the club has gone wrong, and what is needed to put it right.
Conte has been frighteningly honest in post match evaluations. So no wonder the coach is having his name sung.
Speaking after a comprehensive win this afternoon (Sunday), Conte stuck to the mantra he has used rigidly since replacing Nuno Espirito Santo while acknowledging the appreciation he was shown.
“On one hand I’m really enthusiastic for this but I feel a lot of responsibility,” said the Tottenham boss.
“They want to trust in my work but I have only been here for a month, Maybe it’s too much, too early and I want to show in the future that I deserve this for my work at this club.”
He may call for calm, but the feel good factor is laced with a sense that Conte has brought a special kind of footballing witchcraft to the team.
Tottenham’s second goal, scored by Davinson Sanchez, came from a corner – the second time in two games this has been achieved. Before this, Spurs had not scored from a corner for well over a year.
Norwich had set out adventurously, sweeping the ball to and fro with a confidence that belied their league standing and showed they too were enjoying a new manager bounce as Dean Smith took charge of his third game since joining the club last month.
Teemu Pukki nearly gave Norwich a shock led on four minutes – Spurs were caught napping down the right, and a pull-back by the excellent Brandon Williams for the Finnish forward saw him spin a low shot goalwards. Hugo Lloris did well to get down and block.
It took Tottenham a few minutes to get their bearings – and when they did, they were devastating.
Oliver Skipp, the motor of Norwich’s Championship-winning side last-term, tested Tim Krul after storming 45-yards with the ball and refusing to go down after being fouled.
It was on 10 minutes that the home side took the lead. Lucas Moura was fed the ball in a deep central position with little apparent danger – but the Brazilian thought otherwise. Zipping past two tackles, he played a neat one-two with Heung-min Son before ghosting into space on the edge of the box.
Moura then decided that he’d had enough of over complicating matters, so he arrowed a strike into the top left corner. It had taken him eight devastating touches to illustrate the gulf in class between the sides.
The goal-of-the-season contender gave Spurs the platform to control the game, and while Norwich worked hard to get their rhythm going, the hosts were solid at the back, and when their front three got involved, always looked like scoreing.
The second, on 67 minutes, saw Son’s flick come off Ben Gibson and fall kindly for Sanchez to blast in from close range.
There was always a sense Spurs could get another if they put their minds to it. Ben Davies, it often appears, can only play the game on one setting, and no one was going to tell him he didn’t need to embark on a defence splitting run when keeping things low key and simple would be the obvious thing to do.
Storming forward and combining with Skipp, the pair created space for Son to finish neatly.
Conte has got a tune from players like Davies, who was solid defending and uncharacteristically adventurous moving forward.
If he can work the same magic on his bigger stars – and today was as good a showing from Harry Kane, despite the lack of a goal, that we’ve seen all season – the terrace choirs will make Conte’s name a must-sing staple in their songbook.
Spurs: Lloris, Tanganga (Doherty, 61), Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Reguilon (Sessegnon, 22) Hojbjerg, Skipp, Moura (Bergwijn, 80), Son, Kane
Substitutes not used: Gollini, Winks, Rodon, Alli, Ndombele, Scarlett
Norwich: Krul, Aarons, Omobamidele, Hanley, Gibson, Williams, Lees-Melou (Dowell, 72), Gilmour (Sorensen, 81), McLean, Idah (Sargent, 68), Pukki
Substitutes not used: Gunn, Rupp, Cantwell, Kabak, Tzolis, Giannoulis