Son Heung-min caps Tottenham romp as Champions League return is sealed | Premier League

Antonio Conte described Tottenham’s qualification for the Champions League as “winning a trophy” after his team swept aside hapless Norwich to take advantage of Arsenal’s recent capitulation.

Tottenham were in disarray when Conte was appointed in November but he masterminded a transformation to guide the team into the top four. Eighth as recently as February, a run of nine wins in their final 11 matches sealed the bragging rights in north London and their place at the top table of European football next season.

Conte, who won the Premier League at Chelsea five years ago, said: “For me this is a trophy and I’m very happy. I didn’t lift a trophy this season like in the past but, to be honest, to see the path since November, in a difficult situation with a team struggling a lot in a difficult league, I think to get a Champions League place have to consider this a really big achievement for me and the club.”

Playing with a swagger, Spurs were in no mood to sit back despite needing only a point and their early pressure was rewarded with Dejan Kulusevski’s opener. Harry Kane profited from a dreadful defensive error before half-time, with the jubilant Tottenham fans reveling in the sunshine.

The excellent Kulusevski curled in a classy third goal before Son Heung-min’s persistence paid off with two quickfire efforts to share the Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah after scoring 23 goals this season.

Conte said: “He scored twice and could score more but at the same time I want to underline the big effort of the team for Son. I really appreciate the will and desire of his teammates to help him become top scorer. It means there’s a great atmosphere in the dressing room.”

The first warning for Norwich should have resulted in the opening goal, after Kulusevski burst down the right, but his pass was wasted with Pierre-Emile Højbjerg thrashing the ball over the crossbar. Kane was given his first sight of goal but the England captain’s low shot floated straight into the arms of Tim Krul.

Spurs’s early dominance continued with Norwich failing to clear and Kane’s fierce strike, from an acute angle, was blocked by Krul. The breakthrough finally arrived with Højbjerg lofting a ball over the static defense and Rodrigo Bentancur teed up Kulusevski for a low finish. It was a statement of intent from Spurs and the start of a very long afternoon for Norwich’s long-suffering supporters.

Son Heung-min scores Tottenham's fourth at Carrow Road.
Son Heung-min scores Tottenham’s fourth at Carrow Road. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

A loose pass from Eric Dier created a rare opening for the hosts midway through the half but Milot Rashica failed to capitalize after firing his low strike wide of Hugo Lloris’s near post.

Tottenham were handed a second goal when Krul failed to deal with Jacob Sørensen’s backpass and gave the ball to Bentancur. The midfielder provided his second assist, with his pinpoint cross headed home by Kane for his 17th league goal.

Son had his first sight of goal in the second half after being set up by Kane but his shot was blocked by Krul. The pair combined again with Kane crossing for the South Korean, whose close-range effort was expertly saved by Krul.

This was turning into a crusade by Tottenham to provide Son with the goal he needed but Kulusevski uncharacteristically fluffed his lines when he rounded the goalkeeper and unselfishly tried to play in their top scorer but his miscued pass was cleared.

Kulusevski took the more direct approach shortly after and it paid off handsomely as he cut inside from the right and curled a supreme strike beyond the despairing dive of Krul.

Norwich, booed by their dejected supporters during the post-match lap of the pitch, were desperately short on inspiration and Dean Smith described their final-day drubbing as “painful”.

The woeful hosts failed to muster a shot on target as they limply succumbed to their 26th defeat of a miserable campaign.

The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email.

Son was denied again by the busy Krul but not for long – he applied the finish after Lucas Moura’s delicious flick from a Kane pass.

Son knew this was a huge opportunity, against a demoralized team, and beautifully struck a 25-yard shot into the far corner to spark euphoric scenes in front of the Spurs fans after completing their rout.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *