A much-changed Tottenham team got their Europa League campaign off to the perfect start Thursday as strikes from Lucas Moura and Son Heung-Min either side of an Andres Andrade own goal secured a 3-0 win over Austrian Bundesliga side LASK Linz.
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Jose Mourinho made eight changes to the side that blew West Ham away in the first half before blowing a three-goal lead in the second last weekend, but Spurs always looked comfortable here despite a few nervy moments, as they claimed only their first clean sheet in 11 competitive outings.
Moura’s well-taken finish put the hosts in front after good work from debutant Carlos Vinicius, who had earlier wasted a glorious chance to open his own Spurs account. Later in the first half, Andrade turned Gareth Bale’s low cross past his own goalkeeper, before Son’s late effort put the icing on the cake.
They might not be one of Europe’s giants, but LASK have a sting in their tail and this was a good display from Spurs, make no mistake about it. Fifteen goals in four Europa League games now for the hosts, who controlled the tempo from the off and showed excellent composure to beat the press en route to their first shutout of the season.
For all their dominance, there were warning signs that lessons might not have been learned from the weekend, as Spurs occasionally took their foot off the gas. Tottenham must also learn to deal with deep crosses quickly if they’re to escape further punishment this season.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — Jose Mourinho rang the changes with Davinson Sanchez, Sergio Reguilon and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg the sole survivors from the 3-3 draw with West Ham, but his side were anything but disjointed in an assured performance.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Joe Hart, 7 — Restricted to a few simple stops as he went untested early on, but his distribution was superb and he later reacted swiftly to produce a strong one-handed save to deny a curling Andreas Gruber effort.
DF Matt Doherty, 8 — The ex-Wolves man produced an evening full of characteristic bursts forward and he delivered a pinpoint cross that Vinicius somehow nodded wide. He was effective at the other end too, rising well to head away a dangerous cross before producing a colossal block to preserve Spurs’ 2-0 lead.
DF Davinson Sanchez, 6 — A little sluggish in moments as Spurs failed to repel a series of crosses into the box, but there was no harm done this time around and he ultimately put his hapless Hammers display behind him.
DF Ben Davies, 7 — Mr. Reliable. There are more glamorous defenders in the game but perhaps not many more reliable. This was a relatively easy night’s work, but he produced his usual consistency nonetheless.
DF Sergio Reguilon, 7 — The energetic full-back has quickly become a favourite with Spurs fans and it’s easy to see why. His overlapping runs on the left were a constant once again, and his superb darting run forward was key as Spurs doubled their lead.
MF Harry Winks, 6 — Invited some early pressure when he got the wrong side of his man and conceded a scruffy free kick that threatened to cause problems in the Spurs box. Beyond that, he produced a composed display and dictated the play well in the middle.
MF Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, 8 — A nasty clash of heads left the heavily bandaged midfielder channeling his inner Terry Butcher in the first half, but that did little to deter him from getting stuck into midfield battles and he was a vital cog at the heart of a well-oiled Spurs machine.
MF Lucas Moura, 8 — A lively performance with a smart finish to match. The Brazilian showed superb awareness to bend his run into the penalty area before letting the ball run across his body and calmly slotting beyond the goalkeeper, and he continued to flourish on the right after the break.
MF Gareth Bale, 7 — The Welshman made his first start since switching Real Madrid’s famous white for Tottenham’s once again. He’s still some way off full fitness, but he worked hard and produced some calculated crosses, including the one that forced Andrade to put through his own net.
MF Erik Lamela, 6 — The graceful Argentine could once again be found skipping past the challenges, but his finishing wasn’t as tidy as his footwork and a glare from Hojbjerg let him know about it.
FW Carlos Vinicius, 8 — A strong evening from the debutant. He squandered as clear a chance as you’ll ever see as he headed wide from 6 yards when unmarked, but he responded in the best possible manner with a couple of delightful assists for Moura and later Son.
MF Moussa Sissoko, 6 — Replaced the industrious Hojberg and wasn’t far off adding a third goal for Spurs as he quickly hurled himself into the thick of the action.
MF Dele Alli, 6 — Gave possession away, quite possibly with his first touch, but he’s struggled for minutes this season and grew into the game as it progressed.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, N/R — Replaced the impressive Moura for the closing stages. He was involved in a tidy exchange with Alli, but the latter’s low cross was pushed away to safety.
FW Jack Clarke, N/R –– A moment to remember as the teenager made his Spurs debut. He lashed a good opportunity wide of goal, but his introduction was a nice addition to an excellent evening for Mourinho’s men.
FW Son Heung-Min, 7 — He was a constant threat having replaced an exhausted Gareth Bale on the hour mark, and he made it nine goals in eight games this campaign with a tidy finish after an excellent flick from Vinicius.