Mauricio Pochettino: 'I'm very happy as this could have been a difficult game – the players responded'
Published: 1 January, 2017
by DAN CARRIER at Vicarage Road
WATFORD 1, SPURS 4
SPURS strolled into third place today (Sunday) with a straight-forward victory at Watford, scoring four for the second consecutive away fixture and leapfrogging Manchester City in the process.
Double strikes from Harry Kane and Dele Alli secured the points, making it four wins in a row for Mauricio Pochettino's men – and the manner of the victory also allowed the manager the luxury of bringing the goalscorers off long before the final whistle, in anticipation of the visit of league leaders Chelsea to White Hart Lane on Wednesday.
Pochettino called the first-half display "one of the best we've played this season". He added: “We played to a very high standard.
"I'm very happy as this could have been a difficult game – the players responded.”
Kane, making his 100th senior appearance in the Premiership, added that it was a perfect way to prepare for the visit of Chelsea. He said: “It is going to be a fantastic atmosphere at our place on Wednesday. We have to focus on our job and go out there, beat Chelsea and stop their form.”
Spurs started briskly, with a Christian Eriksen strike on four minutes prompting calls for a spot-kick after it struck Etienne Capoue on the arm. The shouts were waved away, but it was merely a harbinger of what was to come. On 27, Spurs took the lead. A moment before, Alli had thumped a great effort against the upright and, as the post was still shuddering, Spurs regained possession, Keiran Trippier saw Kane lingering wide on the right and threaded a defence-splitter in to his feet. He arrowed his shot past Heurelho Gomes at the near post. The same combination doubled the lead on 32 when Alli spun a ball out to the right, Trippier whipped over a vicious cross and Kane was on hand to turn it home.
It was 3-0 on 40 as Watford struggled to clear with ex-Spur Younes Kaboul getting in a twist and Alli was on hand to finish from eight yards. The Hornets were on the ropes. They looked too slow and dumpy to deal with the movement of the Tottenham midfield and it became a question of how much punishment Spurs were in the mood to dish out. Straight after the restart, Kane played in Alli and he finished with ease.
From then on in it was a case of keeping noses clean and legs as fresh as possible with Chelsea approaching. A late consolation toe'd home by Kaboul making no difference to such a complete display. It was a great start to the new year.
SPURS are looking very confident going with three at the back. Last year, Pochettino's lack of a plan B was often cited as a reason the team ran into walls. It looks like he now has one.
Heung-Min Son scored a great winner last year at Watford. Today he put in a busy display, running between the lines, popping up left, right and centre and always asking for the ball.
Kyle Walker has been super this season, but his deputy Trippier put in a performance that shows the depth of this squad. He was comfortable defending while his movement going forward and final ball was excellent.
SPURS: Lloris, Rose, (Davies, 67), Alderweireld, Son, Kane (Janssen, 76), Wanyama, Dier, Trippier, Alli (Winks, 60), Eriksen, Wimmer.
Subs: Vorm, Janssen, Sissoko, Dembele, Winks, Davies, Carter-Vickers.