Lucas Moura scored a brilliant hat-trick as Tottenham cruised past relegated Huddersfield and moved above Chelsea into third in the Premier League.
A much-changed Spurs side dominated from the off at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and deservedly went ahead when Victor Wanyama danced around Ben Hamer and slotted home midway through the first half.
Moura added their second just 144 seconds later as he rifled a low shot past Hamer after being played in by Moussa Sissoko.
The Brazilian was on the scoresheet again three minutes from time as he controlled and volleyed home Christian Eriksen’s cross.
And he completed his hat-trick deep into injury time with another emphatic finish past Hamer.
Christian Eriksen and Fernando Llorente had earlier hit the woodwork for Spurs as they piled on the pressure, although Hugo Lloris was called into action late on to tip a Leandro Bacuna free-kick on to the crossbar.
Huddersfield remain bottom and have now lost six consecutive league games.A
No Kane, no problem
Pochettino praises ‘quality’ Moura
With one eye firmly on Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Manchester City, Pochettino made seven changes to the starting XI that beat City 1-0 in the first leg.
Injured trio Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Harry Winks all dropped out of the squad, while in-form Son Heung-min was named among the substitutes, leaving Llorente and Moura to lead the line alongside Eriksen.
Spurs’ new-look front three were impressive; Llorente helped create the first by holding off his marker to make the space for Wanyama to run into, while Eriksen was his influential self and Moura stole the show.
The Brazilian produced two superb finishes for his first and third while he displayed impressive skill to control Eriksen’s cross for the second.
It remains to be seen who Pochettino will pick to start at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, and Son will almost certainly return, but Moura has certainly done his chances no harm.
And on this evidence, Pochettino has plenty of players to hurt City, even without talisman Kane.
Spurs back on track in league
Tottenham’s league form had faltered recently with only four points gained from their previous six league games.
But they have now strung together back-to-back league wins for the first time since early February, having beaten Crystal Palace and Huddersfield at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The hosts had 88% of the possession in the opening 15 minutes and that set the tone for a comfortable afternoon for Pochettino’s men.
The Terriers failed to get a shot on target in the first half and did little better in the second, meaning Spurs’ makeshift back five were rarely tested.
At the other end, Llorente failed to convert a host of chances as Spurs played through Huddersfield at will to claim arguably their easiest three points of the season.
Spurs sit third for now but they will drop to fourth if Chelsea beat Liverpool on Sunday while Arsenal and Manchester United remain hot on their heels.
And with Champions League opponents Manchester City next up for Pochettino’s side in the league too, a place in the top four is far from a foregone conclusion.
|Race for the Premier League top four|
|15 April Watford (A)||14 April Liverpool (A)||13 April West Ham (H)|
|21 April Crystal Palace (H)||22 April Burnley (H)||21 April Everton (A)||20 April Manchester City (A)|
|24 April Wolves (A)||24 April Man City (H)||23 April Brighton (H)|
|29 April Leicester (A)||28 April Man Utd (A)||28 April Chelsea (H)||27 April West Ham (H)|
|4 May Brighton (H)||4 May Watford (H)||5 May Huddersfield (A)||6 May Bournemouth (A)|
|12 May Burnley (A)||12 May Leicester (A)||12 May Cardiff (H)||12 May Everton (H)|
Huddersfield fail to score again
Score-line is harsh – Siewert
There were few envious eyes cast towards Jan Siewert when he was appointed Huddersfield manager in January with the Terriers bottom of the Premier League and 10 points from safety.
They were 10 games without a league win when he arrived and it took them a further four games to find one – and that 1-0 victory over Wolves remains Siewert’s only league win as Terriers boss.
On Saturday, the Terriers were devoid of confidence or ideas in the first half and, while they did improve in the second half, they could not produce a goal, which is a common problem for Siewert’s side.
Huddersfield have found the net only 19 times this season, meaning they are still one short of Derby County’s record for the fewest goals scored in a Premier League campaign (2007-08).
The Terriers will already have begun their preparations for life in the Championship next season, and solving their goalscoring problem is sure to be high on Siewert’s list of priorities.
Man of the match – Lucas Moura (Tottenham)
‘It’s fantastic to play here’ – what they said
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino told Match of the Day: “I am so pleased. Football is about the squad, the collective. Of course we had some injuries after Manchester City like Alli and Kane, and we were forced to make changes and we needed to provide fresh legs and it’s good because we have a tough period ahead and the performance was very professional.
“It’s always important to open the game and score in the first half to give belief and confidence. After a few minutes we score the second goal and lift the stadium and fans – it’s fantastic to play here and gives the players fantastic energy and belief.”
Huddersfield manager Jan Siewert told Match of the Day: “Four goals are too much today – that doesn’t reflect how we played.
“The lads are better than the points are showing at the moment – that’s my message. It’s still about this season, to represent us the best we can until the end of the season.”