LONDON, United Kingdom, Dec 6 – Tottenham bounced back from their derby defeat against Arsenal to sweep aside struggling Southampton 3-1 on Wednesday and show new Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl the size of the task he faces.
The Austrian was named as Mark Hughes’s successor earlier in the day and took a watching brief at Wembley but for the first hour it was painful viewing.
Hasenhuttl, who will take over from interim Kelvin Davis, who becomes the new manager’s number two, will have been encouraged by the final 30 minutes as Southampton were the better side and grabbed a late consolation through Charlie Austin.
But by then they were already three goals down, with Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min on the scoresheet for Spurs.
“It was a difficult game after last week, when we played three big games,” Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino told the BBC.
“Hugo Lloris was man of the match and that’s something I’m disappointed about,” he added. “We conceded more chances than against Arsenal. But I feel it was job done and I’m happy with the three points.”
Lax defending from Southampton allowed Spurs to take a ninth-minute lead.
As the hosts played a corner short, Matt Targett did not match Kane’s run to the near post and the England captain rammed home Christian Eriksen’s cross from close range for his ninth Premier League goal of the season.
Spurs goalkeeper Loris somehow got his fingertips to a swerving effort from Pierre Hojbjerg and tipped it on to the post.
That gave the hosts the wake-up call they needed and they were quick to reassert their authority, with Kane forcing Alex McCarthy into a low save before the Saints goalkeeper had to smartly tip over from Son.
– Quickfire goals –
Pochettino’s men were in no mood to let Southampton make it nervy for them and two goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second half killed the game.
After Eriksen’s low free-kick was well saved by McCarthy, Moura fired home from the resulting corner at the second attempt for his fifth Premier League goal of the campaign.
Four minutes later it was three and Targett was the culprit again as Trippier dispossessed him, passed to Kane, whose low cross was easy for Son to turn in from inside the six-yard box.
Southampton, who remain third from bottom, showed plenty of spirit despite finding themselves 3-0 down.
Nathan Redmond sent a swerving effort thudding into the crossbar from distance, then Trippier did well to block James Ward-Prowse’s block before Lloris denied the same player with a brilliant point-blank save.
The frame of the goal was hit a third time when Mohamed Elyounoussi’s header rebounded off the crossbar before they finally registered when Austin sprung the offside trap and fired home.
For Spurs, the last 30 minutes was a disappointment, but they move back into the top three after results elsewhere went in their favour.
“We conceded three goals and our standards are better than that,” interim manager Davis told Sky Sports.
“The lads have been fantastic for me and I believe the new manager will see a group of players that want to play football, that want to play for this club and that have talent,” he added.