Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino insisted that his team would not let a Premier League title challenge stop them from going full throttle in Europe after they thumped Fiorentina 3-0 at White Hart Lane.
Spurs progress to the Europa League’s final 16 with a 4-1 aggregate victory over Serie A’s third-placed side and the Argentine coach said the performance demonstrated his team has the quality to fight on two fronts.
“Now we have two competitions. The Europa League and the Premier League. Both are important,” said Pochettino. “It’s true that maybe for our supporters the Premier League is more important. But we have enough quality [in the squad] to share both competitions in the future and we need to try.
“To guess about the future is difficult. But in the end it’s our responsibility to be competitive in all games and in all competitions.”
Moussa Dembele and Harry Kane were unavailable for Spurs, but Pochettino resisted the temptation to rest any other star names.
It was Dembele's replacement, Ryan Mason, who opened the scoring for the home side after 24 minutes with only the fourth goal of his Tottenham career.
Left-back Ben Davies looked for makeshift striker Nacer Chadli but after his forward pass evaded the Belgian the loose ball was inadvertently diverted into the onrushing Mason’s path by Fiorentina centre-back Davide Astori, under pressure from Dele Alli, and the midfielder surged into the area and stroked home.
Fiorentina, who did not provide returning goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with much action in the opening half hour, went close when Josip Ilicic whipped a shot narrowly wide after 41 minutes.
Chadli found the back of the net soon after the restart, slotting under Ciprian Tătărușanu from a Lamela through ball, but was flagged for offside. Borja Valero went closest to an equaliser with a low left-footed drive smothered by Lloris.
Spurs took control of the tie on the hour mark when Lamela struck past Tătărușanu with a neat finish on the turn inside the box after the goalkeeper could only parry a shot from Chadli.
An own goal from Gonzalo Rodriguez added gloss to the result, although Spurs were left to rue Alli’s late booking for diving that which rules him out of their next game in the competition.