Harry Redknapp said yesterday's team selection was the hardest he had faced as a manager, but any doubts he had about restoring Robbie Keane in place of Peter Crouch were dispelled emphatically as Keane became the first Tottenham player since Jurgen Klinsmann – against Wimbledon in 1998 – to score four goals in a match.
Spurs may have suffered hiccups against Manchester United and Chelsea, but clearly they have the firepower to be flat-track bullies, if not top-four contenders. Keane (below), Crouch and Jermain Defoe have a hat-trick each already, though Crouch's efforts at Preston in midweek were not enough to keep him in the side.
"I had a look at their two centre-backs and thought Keane and Defoe would give them more problems with their movement," said Redknapp. "It was a very hard call." Keane, who was all turns and shimmies, was revelling in the space between Burnley's midfield and defence and the skipper should have opened the scoring from Jermaine Jenas's exquisite pass after 12 minutes. He shot weakly at Brian Jensen. He soon made amends though, when Andre Bikey clipped Defoe's ankles and Keane scored from the spot.
The Clarets were unlucky to see an equaliser ruled out after Steven Fletcher got away from his marker to beat Carlo Cudicini – preferred to Heurelho Gomes – at his near post.
The Italian was spared by a harsh offside decision against Fletcher. "He was clearly onside but these are the little margins that are going against us," said Burnley manager Owen Coyle. It was the only little margin of the day.
Spurs, who have also put five past Hull, Doncaster Rovers and Preston, were eyeing another feast and went further ahead after 33 minutes. Keane dropped off and played in the impressive debutant Niko Kranjcar, who came inside but saw his shot blocked. Jenas collected the loose ball and his deflected half-volley from 18 yards, was too good for Jensen.
Crouch got his chance when Defoe went off injured early in the second half, dislocating a finger and requiring hospital treatment.
But this was all about the Irishman. He scored his team's third with a controlled right-foot finish after Jenas sent Aaron Lennon scampering down the right. He completed the hat-trick on 77 minutes and a Crouch knock-down provided him with a fourth three minutes from time. Burnley still await their first away goal in the top flight since 1976.
Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the match: Keane