Shaken and spurred: Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino revels in Stoke City rout
South Korea midfielder Son Heung-min scored twice while Harry Kane and Dele Alli were also on target in the Premier League encounter as Spurs played their second of seven games in 22 days
Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham Hotspur have shaken off the hangover of last season’s meltdown in the Premier League title race as they prepare to challenge on multiple fronts following Saturday’s 4-0 win at Stoke City.
Pochettino’s side host Monaco in their opening Champions League fixture on Wednesday in the second of seven games in 22 days.
And after a low-key start to their title challenge, Pochettino says the win at Stoke proves his players have moved on from last term, when they fell away to finish third after heading into the final weeks as title contenders.
“We have a very hard season with the Champions League and everything and it’s important we have everyone competing,” said Pochettino.
“After four games unbeaten you can see the players are thinking about the new season and the new challenge.
“We have forgotten the past. It was tough for us, but we have worked hard to forget last season and refocus.
“We are up for the challenge, we are always optimistic and believe in our players, so why not go better than last season?”
An emphatic win saw Harry Kane end his goal drought with the England striker scoring the fourth for Spurs and his first in 10 games for club and country, while Dele Alli was also on target.
It also made him the fastest Spurs striker ever to reach 50 Premier League goals.
— Harry Kane (@HKane) September 10, 2016
“It was very important for him to recover the feeling of scoring,” Pochettino said.
“Strikers always worry when they do not score goals. He will be happy.”
South Korea midfielder Son Heung-min scored twice for Tottenham after being linked heavily with a move away from White Hart Lane in the transfer window.
And Pochettino admitted Son could have left White Hart Lane before the transfer deadline.
“Last season was tough for him,” Pochettino said.
“We had to decide in or out in the window. It was difficult for us. The decision was for him to stay and I am very pleased.”
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 10, 2016
Stoke manager, meanwhile, Mark Hughes denied swearing at fourth official Jon Moss following his sending-off in the first half.
Hughes was sent to the stands on a miserable afternoon for the Potters after reacting angrily to a yellow card for diving for winger Marko Arnautovic, and the Football Associaiton could now review footage after he appeared to remonstrate again with Moss after being dismissed by referee Anthony Taylor.
But he denied using abusive language towards the officials and revealed he had been sent from the dugout as part of a new Premier League clampdown on managers leaving their technical areas.
“I did not swear,” Hughes said. “I was sent-off before I engaged with Jon Moss. So let’s put that to bed.
“I came out of my technical area. I was a bit upset. The assistant referee had not flagged for a foul [on Jon Walters] and the referee then thought it was the right decision to book Marko when he was taking evasive action.
“They were two decisions I thought should have gone our way.
“So I reacted in a forceful manner and came out of my technical area, which this year you are not allowed to do, and sometimes you forget that.
“Mr Moss, bless him, decided that warranted a sending-off, which by the letter of the law it did. So I have to hold my hands up.”
Watch: Stoke City manager Mark Hughes