It’s not over yet! Spurs thump Watford as they chase down Chelsea
Pochettino: 'Everybody is part of the project - this is how you win titles'
08 April, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4, WATFORD 0
SPURS cut the gap to leaders Chelsea to four points this lunch time (Saturday) with a comprehensive thumping of mid-table Watford.
Three first half goals ended proceedings as a contest and gave manager Mauricio Pochettino the chance to let Harry Kane make a tentative return from injury in the second 45 with little risk.
After the win, Pochettino praised his squad players who have kept up the title chase while established first teamers have been absent. Pochettino has been forced into switches – Erik Lamela, Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama, Harry Kane, Kyle Walker and Harry Winks were all missing from the starting line up today – but with no ill effects as his side registered their seventh straight victory.
As with two good away wins earlier this week against Burnley and Swansea, Pochettino’s Plan B’s brought dash and verve, and showed how well drilled the whole squad is.
“These wins show the importance not just of 11 players but the whole squad,” the manager said afterwards. “The squad needs to feel important throughout the season. It is about quality throughout the 25 players. We have many players missing and people have to come in and perform. But when you play against us, you do not play against individuals, you play against Tottenham Hotspur.”
And what a roll his squad are on.
Watford came to make a game of it, their big forward line starting off with eager challenges. They even enjoyed a modicum possession in the opening 15 minutes as they battled to stop Spurs settling.
But there was an air of inevitability about Spurs getting their noses in front. Kieren Trippier, in for the rested Walker, was a constant threat and on 19 minutes Vincent Janssen bundled a cross from the right back up on to the bar from close range. A minute later, Janssen nearly steered a second Trippier ball home.
When Spurs took the lead on 32 minutes, it came via a special moment conjured up by the boots of Dele Alli. Spurs broke and Alli got hold of the ball on the edge of the Watford box. The coltish forward glimpsed up to note where Hornets keeper Heurelho Gomes was positioned and placed a curler into the top corner.
It was a wonderful effort and had the crowd in raptures.
Now Spurs were motoring, and number two came on 38 minutes. A Heung-Min Son shot spun out and Eric Dier was on hand to smash home. The third came two minutes before the break when Son’s left foot sent a low drive home from distance.
Any unlikely hopes of Watford making a dent in the home side’s dominance was extinguished shortly after the break. Another lung busting run by Trippier saw him in space and his deep cross was steered home by Son.
Pochettino used his team’s advantage to give Kane a run out in place of the hard working Janssen, and allow Mousa Dembele a breather, too. Kane showed he was back with a bustling run that was only stopped by a cynical foul. His subsequent free kick hit the bar.
Kane’s teammates have stepped up since he hobbled off in the win against Millwall a month ago and Pochettino believes he has solid choices in every position.
As he said after the game: “Everyone has the opportunity to play their part. Everyone is part of the project. That is how you win titles.”
Spurs: Lloris, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Son (Onomah, 87), Janssen (Kane, 60), Dier, Trippier, Dembele (Sissoko, 74), Alli, Eriksen, Davies.
Subs Not used: Lopez, Walker, Kane, Wanyama, Nkoudou, Sissoko, Wimmer.