Son Heung-min has suggested that winning the Golden Boot last season put more pressure on him to deliver this campaign and also meant that he was more closely marked by opposition teams.
After having his most productive season in front of the goal in the Premier League in 2021-22, many would have expected Son to kick on this season and hit even greater heights.
However, the South Korean has fallen short of the high standards he has set for himself, having scored just seven league goals so far this campaign (Transfermarkt).
After producing a brilliant curled effort into the top corner against Brighton to make his way into the Premier League 100 club, Son opened up on his struggles this season.
The forward told The Evening Standard: “Look, if I want to make excuses for the way I’ve played, I can find lots of them, but I’m not the type of guy who goes around making excuses and saying, ‘That was not the real me’. It happened, you move on, and I accept I was not at the top level.
“Last season was fantastic and to win the Golden Boot was a magical moment which gave me amazing confidence.
“Coming into the new season, everyone was saying, ‘Sonny’s got the Golden Boot’ and expecting me to have another amazing run, but sometimes it’s not that simple because you get more attention and more pressure – which I love.
“This is the reason we play, because I love this pressure, and it means I’m not the perfect player.
“I can still improve at my age, and the last eight games will be very important for me and the team.”
Even apart from his brilliant goal, Son looked back to his usual self on Saturday as he was more direct with the ball and made some dangerous runs.
The 30-year-old put that down to the way Brighton set up on the day.
He said about his performance against the Seagulls: “It was more a case of position and being able to make the runs I like – Brighton played quite a high line, which gave me space to run in behind.
“But I still want to be in a consistent way, a better way, and although scoring is important I want to help the team in as many ways as I can.”
Son admitted that it was a sweet feeling to fight hard and hold on for a win on the back of conceding late equalisers against Southampton and Everton.
The Tottenham man said about the 2-1 win: “We’ve had a tough few weeks, losing leads at Southampton before the international break and at Everton, where we conceded last-minute goals.
“We don’t need to talk too much about learning and improving because we all know where we made mistakes and we should have taken more responsibility to take three points from those games and not just hoping we would get three points for free.
“Although we had to suffer to get the win, we had to fight to the last minute and the last seconds, and this time we did it.
“It was great to bring up my 100 in the Premier League, but the most important thing was to take three points.
“Brighton have been playing amazingly, creating chances and we knew they were right behind us in the table so it was a massive win.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Son has always been a confidence player who has thrived on momentum, which is why he tends to score his goals in patches throughout the season.
Unfortunately, he has just not been able to build any momentum at all this season, partly down to his own form and partly also down to the nature of the campaign, which was interrupted by the World Cup.
We certainly saw some promising signs from the 30-year-old on Saturday and I am hopeful that he can have a strong end to the season.
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