Tottenham recorded their first Europa Conference League victory on Thursday evening, defeating Slovenian champions NS Mura 5-1. Dele Alli’s penalty and Giovani Lo Celso’s superb finish gave Nuno Espirito Santo’s side a comfortable first-half lead at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Ziga Kous equalized for the visitors with a magnificent volley from the edge of the area, but replacement Harry Kane secured the points with a hat-trick in the final 20 minutes.
The performance will not erase the memory of three consecutive Premier League defeats, including last weekend’s one-sided thrashing by Arsenal. However, it was a professional performance from Spurs, who will enter Sunday’s game against Aston Villa with a modicum of confidence.
The following are five things we took away from the game.
Tottenham Reduce ticket prices to instill some legitimacy in the Europa Conference League.
This evening, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was devoid of atmosphere. Naturally, this is a Europa Conference League match, a far cry from the European night’s Spurs had in the Champions League only a few years ago. However, this does not negate the reality that thousands of fans want to experience the stadium, which is still relatively new.
There is just no excuse for such poor attendance, especially considering the show put on for Anthony Joshua’s defeat to Oleksandr Usyk just five days ago at the same stadium. Tonight felt like a preseason friendly for what was, in any case, European football.
At the start of the second half, it was clear that the Spurs players’ intensity had waned, and one had to ask if some of it was due to the muted atmosphere engulfing the ground. For this evening, adult tickets were priced at £25 each. Why not decrease them to ten pounds and avoid thousands of vacant seats?
Spurs celebrate a confidence-boosting victory following a dreadful fortnight.
Tottenham entered this match on the back of three straight Premier League defeats, with a scrappy 2-2 draw against Rennes and a penalty shootout victory against Wolves sandwiched between those heinous defeats. Tonight provided a much-needed confidence boost following a particularly trying period.
Regardless of the opponents, Nuno’s side displayed a flow and purpose in the opening 45 minutes that we have not seen since the last international break. In terms of opponents, it is the Slovenian champions. On Sunday, Aston Villa will present a far stiffer challenge.
Alli and Lo Celso both appeared eager to impress, while youthful striker Dane Scarlett would have welcomed the opportunity to lead the line. Cristian Romero should also start games now that Joe Rodon, Eric Dier, and Davinson Sanchez have all displayed very basic frailties recently.
Alli loves the opportunity to play the role of the main man
Alli has been one of the most discussed Tottenham players throughout the club’s rollercoaster start to the season. He has started all six Premier League games for Spurs thus far after Nuno decided to give him a second shot.
However, he was substituted at half-time following a poor performance in their 3-1 defeat to Arsenal last Sunday, an action that left you wondering whether his boss had run out of patience – after all, he has yet to reward Nuno’s faith in him.
Alli was one of only a handful of Spurs first team players to start this evening – a move that some may view as a punishment. However, if today was an opportunity to demonstrate that he still maintains the supreme talent he shown as a child, he grabbed it with both hands. As a creative number 10, the 25-year-old frequently linked up with Scarlett in the same way he did with Kane during the Mauricio Pochettino era. He appeared to be a cut above as the attack’s focal point.
There are no hands. Kane, Son, and Lucas have thirty minutes to reclaim their form.
With an hour remaining in the game, Nuno introduced Kane, Son, and Lucas as the 2-1 scoreline threatened to become a little more uncomfortable than the script anticipated.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino made the correct decision, as all three players contributed to the club’s three second-half goals. Within the closing ten minutes, Lucas set up Kane for his first goal and then Son laid on the England captain for another. Kane completed his hat-trick with two minutes remaining in the 90.
That is precisely what Spurs’ attacking stars required. That is precisely what Kane required. They now need to replicate that success in the Premier League.
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