A very pleasing on the eye Fiorentina were dispatched in fine style by a Spurs side that played with assurance, positivity, commitment and tons of quality in a fine display.
The Italian side started at pace, harrassing and chasing like their lives depended on it whilst slickly whistling the ball between them. They seemed to have decided that an early goal was their best chance of getting through this tie but whilst their technically gifted midfield often showed that they were capable of carving a way through they never made it due to some sterling performances all across the back four and in front of them in the shape of Dier and Mason and Eriksen and Lamela. This quartet deserve an extra pat on the back for the way they ultimately made a very good side look pedestrian.
Ahead of them Chadli and Alli’s runs and tricks were causing a nuisance and they did their best to make sure that the purple back four never had a moment’s peace and it was from this commitment to the cause that the opening goal came which changed the feel of the game. It came from a vintage piece of Spurs 2015/16 play. Alli pressured the centre back, Mason was alert enough to pick up the loose ball and be immediately in on goal. He took his chance beautifully and unwittingly probably summed up the difference between tonight and Sunday.
The goal changed the psychology of the game as I said. We were now always in control as we perhaps would’ve been against Palace if we’d taken our early chances.
We needed a second goal of course and that came when Lamela neatly curled in the rebound from a Chadli effort saved by the keeper which once again had been created by one of our players, this time Eriksen, forcing a mistake from a Fiorentina defender. The purple heads dropped and it was now a question of how many. Trippier’s cross was turned in by Rodriguez under pressure from Alli and Mason almost made if four with a lovely volley from a Chadli cross.
These quotes from the Football Italia website made me laugh. The first is from Sousa, the Fiorentina coach –
“We allowed our opponents too much of the ball and they dominated us after the second goal”
The second from Gonzalo Rodriguez, scorer of our third goal.
“The result doesn’t reflect what we saw on the pitch,” Rodriguez told the Press. “In the last 25 minutes we played well, but unfortunately we lost.”
Get your story straight lads.
A surprisingly straightforward win given the absence of Dembélé and Kane but the reintroduction of Lloris and the excellent Alderweireld more than made up for it.
Some other points – Lamela is not far off making himself indispensible in games against continental opposition. He enjoys the extra space. Chadli up front did ok but it was a far less physical challenge than he’s likely to come up against in the Premier League. Trippier made a goal but his pinball type approach to getting a cross in as soon as he can needs a bit of fine tuning I’d say. I’m not sure that any of his balls into the box were met by a Spurs player. Wimmer looked far more comfortable with Toby alongside him, but I think anyone would. Dier was superb.
The draw for the next round is at lunchtime today. There are no restrictions and there are quite a few teams to be avoided but with four Spanish clubs left, a short flight to Iberia is probably the most likely outcome.
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