TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4, MONACO 1
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino hailed Erik Lamela after the Argentinian’s whirlwind hat-trick swept Spurs into the Europa League’s last 32 as group winners last night at White Hart Lane.
Midfielder Tom Carroll scored the other – his first for the club – as the north Londoners continued their fine start to the season with a rout of Monaco, for whom Stephan El Shaarawy netted.
Lamela has shown only glimpses of the form that persuaded Spurs to pay £30m for him since his 2013 move from Roma but destroyed last season’s Champions League quarter-finalists with a 35-minute treble.
“It’s fantastic for Lamela and a great moment for him. From the start of the season he’s showing improvement and consistency,” said Pochettino. “I’m very happy. Job done and first in the group. I’m proud of them and we showed we have a very strong squad. The mentality was great. We showed a winning mentality and we need to keep this for the whole season.”
Tottenham had already secured qualification from Group J before the visit of Monaco but an emphatic victory cemented top spot and, in theory at least, an easier opponent in Monday’s draw.
Lamela took just two minutes to open the scoring, steering in from close range after defender Ben Davies had won the ball deep in Monaco territory and delivered an inviting cut-back.
The 23-year-old struck his second after a quarter of an hour when he gathered a flick-on from the diligent Son Heung-Min, ran at the visitors and placed a low shot that squirmed under goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
He wrapped up his hat-trick and made it five goals from five games in this competition eight minutes before half-time when Son exemplified Tottenham’s high-pressing game and fed Lamela to fire high past Subasic.
Italy forward El Shaarawy pulled a goal on 61 minutes back when his whipped shot from the edge of the penalty area found the bottom-right corner but Carroll had the last word, dribbling to the goal-line and beating Subasic at his near post from the narrowest of angles.