Antonio Conte revealed why he substituted both Harry Kane and Son Heung-min when more goals were there for the taking against Crystal Palace.
Tottenham boosted their chances of securing a top four finish with a comfortable 3-0 victory at home to Crystal Palace. The Eagles had asked the Premier League to postpone the match after a Covid-19 outbreak left their squad depleted. The request was denied, and the eleven they fielded contained many of those that would start with a fully fit complement anyway.
After finding chances hard to come by in the early stages, Tottenham plundered a quick-fire double through Harry Kane and Lucas Moura.
Wilfreid Zaha then put his side in a hole after seeing red for two bookable offences. That gave Palace a mountain to climb, and the game was put beyond all doubt when Son Heung-min scored Spurs’ third mid-way through the second half.
Speaking to the media after the match Conte said (via the BBC): “It was three important points.
“We started a bit slow but then we got chances to score and we scored the first and second goals and to play against 10 men was easier for us.
“But sometimes despite this it happens against 10 men that I have lost in my career and the focus and attention of my players and attitude was good. It was a good performance.
De Vrij has been linked with a move to Spurs
Inter's De Vrij has been linked with a move to Spurs.
“The most important thing now is to recover well because in two days we have a very difficult game against Southampton.
“There is a lot of space for improvement. To keep the clean sheet is always important. But at the same time to score three goals was positive for our strikers. There were a lot of positive things after this game but in two days everything can change.”
On the decision to substitute both Kane and Son, Conte revealed it was with the hectic festive fixture pile-up in mind. In doing so, Conte also hinted Kane is highly unlikely to be benched any time soon.
He said: “I tried to give a rest to Harry and Son. Especially Harry because he plays every game but he is such an important player it is difficult to think about keeping him on the bench.”
Lucas Moura loving Antonio Conte tactic
Tottenham forward Moura also spoke to the press, saying: “Very nice. I’m very happy.
“It was a special day for me and my family. A very important three points. It was a solid performance. Each game we are improving. We just need to keep going this way.
“It was a nice goal and a nice ball from Emerson [Royal] as well.”
On Spurs consistently winning back possession quickly under Conte, Moura added: “Every game we are improving this point.
“When we try to recover the ball back quickly we have quick players up front that can cause problems.
“It is not bad [league position]. There are a lot of games to play. We are taking it step by step and game by game and working hard. If we keep going this way we can think about big things.”