Two second half goals made it a winning finish to football at White Hart Lane this season but this game was more of a quiet whimper than a rousing finale.
Mauricio Pochettino is nothing if not consistent. Here he went with the same 4-2-3-1 formation he has used pretty much all season, while the only change from the team that lost to Stoke was the expected return of Danny Rose from injury.
His substititions were more interesting. We got to see a good half hour from Mousa Dembele, on for the clearly tiring Eriksen. There was even a rare sighting of summer signing Benjamin Stambouli; the Frenchman only got a ten minute cameo.
This wasn’t a great performance from Tottenham. A drab first half looked very much like a meaningless end of season dead rubber – except of course for Hull it was anything but. Steve Bruce’s team have been poor for much of the campaign, despite some high profile buys. Former Tottenham men Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore have shown why Spurs were keen to sell them.
In the opening moments Dier missed with a free header from a corner, delivered on a plate by the excellent Erik Lamela. However it was Hull who made the early running.
Nikica Jelavic had several opportunities. First missing with a header after a poor clearance by Fazio had put Spurs on the back foot. Then he hit the woodwork from close range after Bentaleb had been robbed of possession on the halfway line – Dier’s ineffectual attempt at a clearing header presenting the Croatian with the chance.
Both were created by crosses from the Spurs left. Hull were having lots of joy down that side. 43% of their attacks came on their right wing, as opposed to 30% on the other side.
It wasn’t all one way traffic. Harry Kane drove the ball across the six yard box after some good work from Eriksen. Then Lamela went close after Mason set him up.
Lamela has been growing in confidence of late. After a promising start to the season, he seemed to have lost his way but here he was Tottenham’s stand out performer. It was his clever pass that finally unlocked the Hull defence. Chadli’s run and finish were of a similarly high standard, at odds with the mediocrity up to that point.
One thing Spurs have been missing under Pochettino is the key to breaking teams down in the final third. A look at the shot location statistics makes rather uncomfortable reading. Tottenham don’t make many chances in the danger zone.
After waiting an hour – some might say several games – for an incisive move, it only took seven minutes for the next one to come along. As if inspired by Lamela’s inventiveness, Ryan Mason and Danny Rose combined for a lovely one two. Mason chipped over the Hull defence for Rose to volley home.
The young midfielder has taken some stick recently and the defensive side of his game has possibly merited it. He came through the youth ranks as a more attacking player and here he showed that creative side to his game.
There was still time for a goal mouth scramble in the Spurs penalty box where Hull contrived to waste five good chances in a row. Bruce had his head in his hands, relegation looming, contemplating another lost three points.
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Was this a good Spurs performance? Did Lamela stand out? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
We really had to win this game to play in Europe hopefully but we were lucky to have done so since we did not play all that well. We continued making mistakes in the defence by Fazio in particular. Had Hull seized upon their scoring chances, the result could have been different. I hope to see a more determined, a more committed and a more consistent Spurs next season. Some under performing players must go and some ‘new blood’ brought in…
Considering it was Hull it wasn’t a great performance but at least the two goals were evidence of some ability in the side.
Levi stop trying to get more than our deadwood players are worth & settle for just $100 Million+ Even with money HIT! Also Useless Baldini! SELL;Soldado,Lemela,Pauhinio,Kuboul,Chirches,Caponie,Stabalie,Dembele,Ade,Townsend,
Lennon,Davis,Frazio,Von Rom. BUY: Morgan,Auderweild,Cabaye,Mich Richards,Benteke,Javier-
Top Winger. Only then will we have great opportunity next season too challenge Top 1-4 spot OR based on recent weak performances,will be lucky Top 10. Lewis please sell club A.S.A.P for soccer minded owner that will take club forward!
We must look for better players of the calibre of Benteke, Saha, Puncheon, Gomis, Baines, Long, Coleman, Mane Lukaku, Boney, Giroux, to name a few, all of them having Premier League experience. It is a pity we sold Sigurdsonn who is very talented..
Totally agree on getting rid of the players surplus to requirements. There’s a long list and it can’t have helped morale.
As welcome as this victory was, i could not help but feel a bit sorry for our old boys. I hope that they can spring a surprise next week against Man Utd.
I wish that Dembele and Stambouli had more time on the pitch but i was still happy with their performance. Dembele as a defensive number 10 offers something completely different and i love that we have this option.
Finally, thank you Brad Friedel. What a professional! i hope that he will stay at Spurs as an ambassador or head into coaching/managing.
Brad Friedel has been a great servant to the club. Any chance Pochettino may spring a surprise and play him next weekend?