BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks was left unimpressed by Tottenham Hotspur in their win over Southampton on Saturday, and claims Spurs would have lost the game without ‘the calmness’ of Harry Kane.
Tottenham welcomed the Saints to North London at the weekend looking to regain form on the back of defeats against Leicester City and Colchester United, which saw Mauricio Pochettino’s side slip to seventh in the Premier League and fall out of the Carabao Cup.
France midfielder Tanguy Ndombele saw that Spurs began their latest top-flight affair on the front foot, with the 22-year-old striking his second goal for the North London outfit (TransferMarkt) to open the scoring in the 24th minute.
However, Spurs’ lead did not last long as Danny Ings pulled Southampton back level 15 minutes later, shortly after Serge Aurier was sent off for receiving two yellow cards in four minutes.
The Ivorian’s dismissal marked what Crooks felt was a collapse of his game in a moment of madness, which preceded one of Hugo Lloris’ own when he attempted a Cruyff turn yards from his line to present Ings with his chance to score.
Kane came to Tottenham’s rescue shortly before the break with his fifth goal of the league term (WhoScored), and Crooks claims he showed why Pochettino can rely on him in a crisis.
“Spurs would have lost this game if it were not for the calmness of Kane,” Crooks wrote in his weekly column for BBC Sport, in which he named Spurs’ striker a part of his Team of the Week.
“For large parts of the win against Southampton, Tottenham’s performance descended into chaos. Serge Aurier’s game fell apart during 10 minutes of madness, followed by Hugo Lloris’ peculiar rendition of the Cruyff turn on his own goal line. Really, have you ever seen anything like it?
“What Southampton made of all this I can only imagine. The sad thing for the Saints is that they could not take advantage of it. Thank goodness Spurs have Kane – one of the few players they can rely on in a crisis.”
While Kane maintained his record of being involved in at least a goal (scored or assisted) for club and country in his past six outings, he was not the only Spurs man to make a difference in their victory over Southampton – regardless of Crooks’ claim.
Lloris may have been wholeheartedly at fault for Ings’ goal, but the French goalkeeper atoned for his blunder with a string of top-drawer saves in the second half to ensure that Kane’s strike was not in vain.
Harry Winks was also frantic in the centre before being replaced by Victor Wanyama in stoppage time, as he recorded more attempted tackles (six) than any other Spurs player and won the joint-most (four) alongside two interceptions, as per WhoScored data.
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