Hugo Lloris silenced his critics by helping Tottenham take a step closer to Champions League football for the third successive year.
Hugo Lloris Helps Spurs to Five Point Gap
Captain Lloris pulled out a hatful of excellent saves to protect Spurs’ 2-0 lead over Watford at Wembley. Securing a scrappy but vital three points, with The French international handed in a five-star performance. The same could not be said for his charges.
His defenders were relieved to see him diverting an on-target shot from Andre Gray, culminating from bungled defending.
Dele Alli opened Spurs’ account inside the first quarter following a fumbling error from keeper Orestis Karnezis, going slightly against the run of play.
The Hornets circled for the sting for much of the first half, unlucky not to capitalise on some sloppy and nervous play by Spurs.
One More Gain for Kane
Whatever Pochettino said at half-time worked, with the home side coming out to an early goal from Harry Kane. Though still not on full power and recovering from a slip, poacher Kane quickly turned to sweep the ball in, relieving the anxiety of teammates, manager and crowd.
Though an unmemorable performance, the result went some way to silencing the circling media waiting for Spurs to ’bottle it’ headlines, making much better reading if heralding another pressurised ‘failing’ of the home side.
Could Troy Help Watford Bridge the Gap?
Watford’s substitutions proved fruitful, with captain Troy Deeney arriving on the field to giving the visitors a little more confidence. His influence and the pestering of Will Hughes was making an uncomfortable evening for those in white both on and off the pitch. Richarlison also caused problems, but the Hornets failed to finish and take hold of the game.
Empty seats and a subdued crowd were signs of perhaps a still FA Cup-wounded following. Watford were looking ready to exploit those nerves. A familiar edginess could be felt in the stadium. The Hornets were trying to capitalise on it and finish with a sting.
Tottenham, however, finished the job off professionally, marking the difference between the two sides more clearly in the latter part of the game. More importantly, shrugging off the ever-increasing doubters in those not convinced of a real rise in power and a new era dawning for the Lillywhites.
Lloris is the Man
Captain Hugo Lloris was outstanding for his side throughout deservedly reaping the Man of The Match award; a confidence boost for the Frenchman who has come under criticism in recent games.
With the result, therefore, giving Spurs their cushion back in defence of the ever-present Chelsea and West London five points behind North.
It would be more than fans could countenance should the Lillywhites be returning to a shiny new home and the Europa League. Notwithstanding the loss in revenue they would incur should they not make the top four. With the expense of a new stadium to meet, Daniel Levy was surely breathing somewhat easier after the 90 minutes.
“We can jump up to third. That’s our aim.”
Speaking to Sky Sports following the match, Kane was asked if the game’s importance reflected on Spurs’ performance. The England centre-forward replied:
”Well, yeah. It feels like ages ago we last played, obviously our run of form hasn’t been the best. When that happens you want to play straight away and make it right but we’ve had to wait eight days or so. We probably started a bit slow, but look, we won the game, and that’s what we’re happy about. We’ve got three games left, hopefully winning them all, we can jump up to third. That’s our aim now.”
When asked whether their five point cushion over Chelsea will ease the pressure he said;
”Yeah definitely. They were creeping up, on our backs, but we can look forward now. We’ve got a game in hand over Liverpool. Win that, and we can jump above them aswell. It was important to get the job done tonight, and like you said ease the pressure. ”
Spurs face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns this weekend. The Baggies will still be fighting relegation and will not be content with a point. A must win tie for both sides at opposing ends of the table.