a team fifth in the Slovenian top flight.
Spurs got their first win in the new Europa Conference League groups stages but after a bright start it needed the big guns or Kane and Son to make sure of a 5-1 victory over NS Mura.
I suppose in a week when Real Madrid were beaten by Sheriff Tiraspol – is it really eight years ago that Spurs beat the team no one had heard of, in the Europa League, under AVB? – Spurs should just be glad for the win, no matter how it comes.
It’s just a shame some of those that decided to turn up for this game didn’t do so a few days back, when it really mattered.
As expected it was a much changed side from the weekend, with only Dele and Reguilon retained for the starting lineup from the league. With a crowd to match. Not exactly big numbers… but then with a chance of Winks playing, which he did, can you blame them.
It was a game which showed the players and Nuno how they should play. Play like the beginning and end and don’t play like the middle bit. The beginning and end were played with one touch and pace and brought dominance and goals, the middle was played with far too many touches and a lethargy that has inflected so much of this season.
The opener came early, it started with a stumbling bad touch from Gil, which a Mura player played back to Lo Celso, his first time ball through to Scarlett, was just behind the player, his touch played it onto a defender who knocked it back into his own box. Dele, playing a more number 10 role, than the number 8 he seemed to be at the weekend – for the half – was in, but clipped by the keeper, for a penalty. Which he duly dispatched.
It wasn’t long before the second came, from a decent attack Scarlett lost his footing – a number did this during the game, a symptom of the pitch being hidden away during the boxing at the weekend? – the ball was played out of the box where Winks actually played a ball forward. It was an aimless kick that Lo Celso picked up, ran into the box and banged it over the keeper’s head.
They had more chances in the first half but more often than not there was far too many touches. The lethargy came after the break when it looked like they thought they’d done enough but were given a jolt just seven minutes after the break. Still not good at set pieces. From a Mura corner, Rodon’s clearing header was smacked straight back into the net, with a cracking shot.
On the hour Nuno sounded the bugle and the cavalry arrived. Kane, Son and Moura, replaced Scarlett, Gil and Dele. The former had no real service during the game, the latter didn’t look happy, making his way straight down the tunnel, he did return though. Gil was decent but didn’t feel he quite got into the game as much as you know he could. Lo Celso moved into the number 10 role and filled it quite well.
It didn’t take long for the three of them to make an impact as the final hour was played at a faster pace, with more direct running. Less than 10 minutes, the build up was at a bit of a walking pace, from Skipp to Lo Celso to Doherty to Moura and then it speeded up as Moura slid the ball through the channel for Kane to run onto and score. Kind of chance he would have missed on Sunday.
Ten minutes later and the ball was coming out from deep in the Spurs’ half when Lo Celso speeded things up with a first time lovely ball through to Son. Into the box he crossed it perfectly for a Kane tap in.
Lo Celso played a major part in Kane’s hat-trick. Another glorious ball, through the defence. You wonder if it’ll get him the number 10 spot for the weekend Premier League game. While all the talk about Kane’s hat-trick, this was lo Celso’s best game under Nuno and like Kane’s hat-trick it has to be tempered by the opposition.
And that’s how we have to look at this game… players who didn’t turn up for the NLD are all smiles because they put a few past a team that are ranked 370th by UEFA – Spurs are currently ranked 13th.
It’s a win… and that’s it.