Last month’s seven-goal thrashing by Bayern Munich suddenly feels a long time ago for Tottenham.
Back-to-back Champions League wins over Red Star Belgrade with an aggregate score line of 9-0 has gone a long way to banishing the ghosts of Bayern, leaving Spurs four points clear of the Serbian side in Group B’s second place.
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A trip to Belgrade shouldn’t be a walk in the park, and it wasn’t entirely.
But after giving up two more than presentable chances to the hosts, Spurs moved through the gears to quell the famous atmosphere and run out comfortable winners.
Lo Celso takes his chance
Spurs fans have been calling for it ever since he found fitness and finally Mauricio Pochettino responded, starting summer signing Giovani Lo Celso for the first time.
With Erik Lamela out injured and Christian Eriksen enduring a prolonged spell of disappointing form, Lo Celso has a great opportunity to establish himself. He took it tonight.
His goal was memorable for all the wrong reasons – coming after a comedic interlude in which Harry Kane hit the post, Son Heung-min the bar and Dele Alli fluffed an overhead kick – but it was an important one which got Tottenham under way.
Pochettino tried out a new centre-back combination in Belgrade, with Davinson Sanchez partnered not by Toby Alderweireld or Jan Vertonghen but Eric Dier.
With Juan Foyth at right-back it appeared a nod to the future of Spurs, and although they kept a clean sheet there were signs of weakness.
Milan Pavkov should have put Red Star ahead in the 23rd minute, but Paolo Gazzaniga kept his attempt out with an outstretched leg. Rajiv van La Parra also struck the post before Sanchez inadvertently hit his own crossbar from the rebound.
Spurs were not punished but they certainly had a soft centre.
Son left the pitch distraught on Sunday afternoon following his involvement in the serious injury to Everton’s Andre Gomes.
After having his red card overturned on appeal, it was pleasing for Spurs fans to see one of their key players back doing what he does best.
While his two goals perhaps owed more to their creators, they were still finished expertly. Tanguy Ndombele retrieved possession, charged forward and found Alli, who fed Son to smash his first into the roof of the net on the angle.
Next Kane slipped Danny Rose in on the overlap and the left-back squared for another emphatic Son finish – his fifth in just four Champions League games this season.
Substitute Eriksen’s deflected effort from another Rose cross added a fourth and sent Spurs home happy.
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