Two goals for Son as Spurs ease past Huddersfield
Birthday present for Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, who turned 46 on Friday,
Tottenham warmed up for their Champions League tie with Juventus by easing to a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield at Wembley.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, who turned 46 on Friday, had asked his players to give him a performance and result worth celebrating and they convincingly delivered through two goals from Son Heung-min.
The defeat leaves Huddersfield three points above the bottom three on an afternoon when they lost both Collin Quaner and Alex Pritchard to injury.
Pochettino, who had recalled the fit-again Jan Vertonghen and dropped Fernando Llorente despite his hat-trick against Rochdale mid-week, started his strongest available team in preparation for Wednesday’s visit of Juventus, when Spurs could reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
He was rewarded with another classy performance that extended their unbeaten run to 17 fixtures and in which they posed a goal-threat throughout.
First Harry Kane crossed to Dele Alli, who stretched but just missed the ball at the back post when he could have given them lead.
Then Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl saved from Kane from close range after Son’s delivery.
It was after the impressive Christian Eriksen had seen his free-kick headed against his own post by Mathias Jorgensen that Son gave Spurs the lead.
In a clinical move in the 27th minute, a pass from Alli freed Son to race clear and he went round Lossl to finish low just inside the far-right post.
Kane had again gone close by half-time, but it was Huddersfield substitute Tom Ince, who after replacing the injured Quaner tested the diving Hugo Lloris early in the second half with a well-struck shot after racing clear.
Son had already appealed for a penalty, after being brought down by a clumsy challenge from Terence Kongolo, when Spurs responded to Ince’s effort by almost immediately scoring their second goal and securing all three points.
In the 54th minute from space on the right wing, Kane whipped a masterful cross into the area that Son ran onto at the back post and met with a well-timed header Lossl had little chance to save.
With a two-goal advantage and the momentum, Pochettino gradually substituted Son, Mousa Dembele and Alli, suggesting all three can expect to start against Juve.
Kane will also start, but like Vertonghen, who rightly had a header disallowed for offside, finished without a goal after shooting just wide when Eriksen found him with a late corner.
If Huddersfield’s misery had been increased by the first-half injuries suffered by Quaner and Pritchard, the latter against his former team, another picked up by referee Mike Jones during the warm-up had earlier led to fourth official Kevin Friend instead taking charge.
Jones’ mobility was limited as he sat on a chair on the sidelines, from where he was instead the fourth official, and an announcement went over the Wembley tannoy requesting qualified referees, before another followed insisting the “situation was in hand”.
The situation was certainly in hand for Spurs.
As for Town boss David Wagner, he will now be targeting the next two games at home to fellow relegation strugglers Swansea and Crystal Palace.