LONDON: Tottenham wrapped up one of the happiest weeks of Jose Mourinho’s 10 months in north London by following up progress in the Europa League and the arrival of Gareth Bale with a 5-2 demolition of Southampton in front of the Saints’ own fans.
Home boss Ralph Hasenhuttl must be growing used to an early-season disaster. Last October Southampton crashed 9:0 at home to Leicester. The worry for his directors is that many of the same players appear to have learned little from that humiliation.
Heung-min Son scored four goals, all assisted by Harry Kane, as Tottenham recovered after conceding the opener to Danny Ings. Son levelled in first-half stoppage time, his second followed a minute after the restart, his hat-trick just after the hour and his fourth in the 73rd minute.
Kane scored No5 before Ings converted his own second from the penalty spot. Ings had been a Tottenham transfer target before Bale became available. Son and Kane have combined for more Premier goals (24) than any other duo since the Korean’s move to England in August 2015.
Southampton have now lost all three of their games this season and Hasenhuttl had no excuses. He said: “The way we defended was a disaster. That is something we will have to speak about because it was stupid. In the end it was a deserved defeat.”
Tottenham had already cheered their fans with the acquisitions of not only old favourite Bale but £28m Spanish leftback Sergio Reguilon from Sevilla.
In the long term Reguilon may prove the more important but Bale is bringing immediate impetus to Spurs though he will not be ready to make his second debut for the club until after the international break. Bale scored 55 goals in six seasons with Spurs before his then-record €100m move to Madrid.
The Welshman is happy to be back, albeit on loan, at a club where he knows he is wanted and appreciated.
Spurs have not won anything since the League Cp in 2008 and Bale said: “Hopefully I can bring some belief that we can win a trophy. The target is to do just that – and not just one but to be fighting on every front possible. I want to bring that mentality to Spurs.”
Bale was twice the Players’ Player of the Year before moving to Spain and winning the Champions League four times.