Kane, Son double up to reawaken Tottenham’s Champions League challenge
Mauricio Pochettino’s men were thrashed 7-2 at home by Bayern Munich in their previous European outing and have won just two of their last eight games in the Premier League.Updated: Oct 23, 2019 09:20 IST
Son Heung-min and Harry Kane combined to ease Tottenham’s troubles by each scoring twice in a 5-0 win over Red Star Belgrade to put their Champions League campaign back on track on Tuesday. Mauricio Pochettino’s men were thrashed 7-2 at home by Bayern Munich in their previous European outing and have won just two of their last eight games in the Premier League.
However, Pochettino was pleased to see last season’s Champions League finalists get back to the standards he expects.
“It was an important result. One, for our confidence and two, for another three points in the table,” said Pochettino, as Tottenham leapfrogged Red Star into second in Group B behind Bayern.
“We start to see it is only time that we need to recover confidence. We need to go step-by-step, being solid again to try to start to perform in the way everyone expects.”
Son was restored to the starting line-up after being rested in Spurs’ latest disappointing display, a 1-1 home draw against bottom-of-the-table Watford on Saturday, just days after returning from a tense World Cup qualifier in North Korea.
The South Korean and Kane have been shining lights despite Tottenham’s dramatic dip in form and led from the front on a night Pochettino hopes proves to be a turning point.
“We know we have had a tough run of results and that was the perfect way to respond,” said Kane.
“We were ruthless in front of goal and got the clean sheet as well.
“The most important thing was the win. To win 5-0 was exactly what we needed.”
Kane and is now up to 15 goals for club and country this season.
The England captain opened the floodgates when he met Erik Lamela’s in-swinging corner on nine minutes.
Spurs also took an early lead against Bayern in a bright opening half hour before a second half collapse against the German giants.
But there was never any danger of a repeat against far more limited opponents, especially after Son deservedly doubled the hosts’ lead.
Lamela was again the creator with a teasing cross for Son to meet sweetly on the half-volley.
Pochettino admitted on the eve of the game that speculation over his future was normal, despite the success he has achieved in turning Tottenham from Europa League regulars to Champions League contenders over the past five years.
However, the Argentine was serenaded by a home support soothed by the sight of Spurs returning to form, for 90 minutes at least.
“The fans are fantastic, I listen to their support but the most important thing is to support the players and the team,” added Pochettino.
“The same love goes both ways. I feel they love me and I love them too.”
A much tougher task awaits on Sunday when Spurs travel to Liverpool in a repeat of last season’s Champions League final with revenge on their minds.
But another adventure into the knockout stages of the Champions League now looks probable for Pochettino’s men, particularly if they outclass Red Star again when the sides meet in Belgrade in two weeks’ time.
After a brief spell of resistence from the visitors, Son made sure the three points were safe before the break by finishing off a swift counter-attack from Tanguy Ndombele’s pass.
Spurs should have had far more than two more after the break. Lamela could have had a 15-minute hat-trick alone as he missed two glorious chances either side of a thumping left-foot finish from Serge Aurier’s pass to make it 4-0.
Son was then withdrawn to keep him fresh for the trip to Anfield and was awarded a standing ovation as he took half a lap of honour around the side of the pitch.
But the chances continued to flow in his absence and Kane rounded off the scoring when his side-foot finish nestled in the far corner.