The Independent London Newspaper
23rd April 2019

Spurs stun City as Pochettino hails 'great, great victory'


    Published: 2 October, 2016
    by DAN CARRIER at White Hart Lane

    Premier League

    MAURICIO Pochettino hailed his team's dominant performance tonight after he watched Spurs swat aside league leaders Manchester City.

    The manager was glowing in the aftermath of a comprehensive victory which sent a message to every other club who fancy a tilt at the title this year - Spurs are proper contenders.

    While it is only early October, Pochettino's charges have yet to concede a goal from open play, and are now the only side in the league yet to be beaten.

    And today, they gave Pep Guardiola's high-flyers a lesson from beginning to end.

    “It was a great, great victory for us against this opposition. I am very happy,” Pochettino said.

    “Manchester City are a great team – it is difficult to play against them. But sometimes you have a plan and it is good."

    The opener came from an own goal via Aleksandar Kolarov – though Spurs had battered the City defence  - and the second came via Dele Alli, played in by the excellent Heung-Min Son.

    A second-half penalty, taken by Erik Lamela, was saved by City's Claudio Bravo but while it meant the result wasn't as big as it could have been, City never really worried Tottenham.

    Pochettino now called for his side to show consistency as they tackle matches against Leicester, Arsenal, West Ham and Chelsea after the international break.

    “We have some tough games coming up,” said the manager. “The belief and faith in the way we work needs to be consistent from the start of the season and we need to concentrate on that all the way to the end of the season.”

    Spurs looked lively from the start: Son, who has scored five in five, caused no end of problems for City's stagnant defence with his direct running and willingness to shoot on sight. He forced Bravo into some smart saves in the City goal, while Lamela, Alli, Christian Erisken and Moussa Sissoko all threatened. After a half-hour of complete dominance, Alli made it two when Son spotted him running centrally and scooped a pass into his path. He thumped it home.

    Spurs came out in the second half just as they had the first – pressing City into errors, and sending Guardiola's defence dizzy with rapid passing moves.

    It should've been three midway through the second half when the excellent Alli was fouled by Fernandinho in the box. There was some argy-bargy between Son and Lamela over who should take the kick – a discussion Lamela won. But the winger's shot was too close to Bravo and the City keeper pushed it away. At the other end, Hugo Lloris was equal to anything City managed to create.

    City had enjoyed six straight wins before they played Spurs. Now Tottenham are the only unbeaten team in the division, and Pochettino can rightly sit back tonight and feel his team are as good as any they will meet.

    SPURS: Lloris, Rose, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Walker, Wanayama, Alli (Nkoudou, 86), Eriksen, Sissoko (Dier, 72), Son (Janssen, 90), Lamela.
    Subs: Vorm, Dier, Janssen, Trippier, Winks, N'Koudou.

    SPURS COMMENT by Dan Carrier

    DELE Alli and Heung Min Son will no doubt grab the headlines for their creativity, but the full-backs were as crucial as any in this win. Kyle Walker was simply unplayable, while Danny Rose's controlled aggression, bombing runs and absolute determination to come out top were as good as you could wish for. Meanwhile, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are the best centre-back pairing we've seen at Tottenham since...well, I'd say Richard Gough and Gary Mabbutt.

    Pochettino's summer transfer business looked splendid today. It was a matter of small tweaks to the squad. No Dier, no Dembele, no Kane? Last year that would have been a problem. Instead, Wanyama was immense centrally, Son was allowed to run the line and was a hustling, bustling ball of energy. Thank goodness Poch persuaded him he had a future at the club. Sissoko looked desperate to prove himself and offered a muscular outlet. It suggests the squad's weaknesses have been plugged.



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