Llorente shines as Spurs beat Swansea to boost top four finish hopes
Pochettino says striker may have been offside when Tottenham went ahead - but 'you sometimes need luck'
03 January, 2018 — By Dan Carrier
FA Premier League
SWANSEA CITY 0
SPURS 2 (Llorente 12, Alli 89)
FERNANDO Llorente returned to the club that he helped keep in the Premier League last season and scored a crucial opener in terrible conditions to keep Spurs in the hunt for a top four finish and keep struggling Swansea deep in relegation trouble.
The Spanish forward, 32, was drafted into replace Harry Kane, who was coming out of a bad bout of flu, and lead the line at his former stomping ground with some determination. He has not enjoyed much game time since his summer transfer to Spurs – this was his first Premiership start – but he appeared to be keen to make up for lost time.
His headed goal, from a Christian Eriksen free kick, had more than a whiff of off side about it but Tottenham’s dominance was such that the struggling Welsh side could have no complaints about the final score. Dele Alli made the points secure at the end when Kane, a second half substitute, placed a peach of a ball in to his team mates stride from 40 yards away and Alli finished.
Speaking after the game, manager Mauricio Pochettino praised Llorente’s contribution.
He said: “Maybe Fernando was offside and maybe Swansea have the right to complain about the goal – but in football you sometimes need some luck to open up the game. It was fantastic for Fernando to score. He has been waiting for his time to play and for any player it is good for their confidence to score. The conditions were so, so difficult but we deserved the victory and I am very pleased to take the three points.”
Both sides had to contend with lashing rain and wind as Storm Eleanor ripped through the Liberty Stadium. It made the game a war of attrition in parts, and it wasn’t until the second half got under way and the rain subsided that Swansea came at Tottenham.
Spurs held firm and then, as the clock ticked down, sub Kane wriggled away from three players on the left and played a glorious ball through to Alli, who beat goal keeper Lucas Fabianski and sealed a hard fought and deserved victory, pushing Spurs up to fifth place.
SPURS: Lloris, Trippier, Sanchez (Wanyama 59), Vertognhen, davies, Dier, Eriksen, Alli, Lamela (Sissoko 77) Son, Llorente (Kane, 68).
Subs not used: Vorm, Aurier, Walker-Peters, Winks
SWANSEA: Fabianski, Rangel (Narsingh, 53) Mawson, Fernandez, Van der Hoorn, Olsson, Clucas, Carroll (Routledge, 78) Sanches, Dyer (McBurnie, 71), Ayew
Subs not used: Nordfeldt, Bartley, Fer, Mesa