Mauricio Pochettino’s start to life in north London has not been without its teething problems, yet Spurs fans are now beginning to see the performances they yearn for.
The recent improvements were evident at White Hart Lane last night, when Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli, Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado all scored in a 4-0 demolition of Newcastle. It puts Spurs within a two-legged semi-final against Sheffield United of Wembley, and helped made amends for October’s 2-1 defeat to Alan Pardew’s men at White Hart Lane.
“Nabil’s first goal was great. Everyone wants to get to Wembley,” said captain Jan Vertonghen.
Spurs certainly impressed in laying that ghost to rest, with Bentaleb capitalising on a mistake by Newcastle’s third-choice goalkeeper, Jak Alnwick, to turn home midway through the first half. It was a lead doubled by Chadli seconds after half-time and, once Massadio Haidara cleared a Jan Vertonghen header off the line, Kane put the game out of sight.
It continued the England U21s international’s record of scoring in every round of this season’s competition and his replacement Soldado added extra gloss, slotting home from close range after Christian Eriksen’s initial effort was saved.
While things are on the up for Tottenham, this defeat is hardly the visitors’ ideal preparation for the Tyne-Wear derby against Sunderland this weekend.
Victory marked the perfect end to an eventful day at White Hart Lane after Spurs accused Andre Villas-Boas of rewriting history following claims from their former manager that the club had reneged on promises.
The crux of the 37-year-old’s frustration stemmed from what he claims were chairman Daniel Levy’s broken promises in relation to transfers, both in and out of the north London club.
“The chairman proposed a challenge to increase Tottenham’s competitive level, but immediately [Luka] Modric left and we didn’t get any of the targets I had identified, such as Joao Moutinho, Willian, Oscar or Leandro Damiao,” Villas-Boas said.
“These were promises that were not kept. I had a group of players I had not chosen.
“In two years I lost [Rafael] van der Vaart, Modric, [Gareth] Bale, and all the promises made were unfulfilled.
“In any event I don’t look at my time at Tottenham as a negative experience. It was an experience I needed to have.”
Those comments have not sat well with Tottenham, with the club swiftly hitting back at Villas-Boas’ claims.
“It’s unfortunate that Andre has felt the need to pass comments like these,” a Spurs spokesperson said.
“Not only has he attempted to rewrite history, he has clearly forgotten the facts.”
Villas-Boas’ claim that Modric’s move to Real Madrid came as a shock are understood to have irked Tottenham, as has the way he portrayed Van der Vaart’s return to Hamburg.
The Portuguese is believed to have been key in the Netherlands international’s departure, while the club deemed many of his targets as unrealistic acquisitions.
TOTTENHAM: Vorm, Chiriches, Vertonghen, Fazio, Rose, Stambouli, Bentaleb (Capoue 80), Townsend, Eriksen, Chadli (Dembele 61), Kane (Soldado 69).
NEWCASTLE: Alnwick, Coloccini, Williamson, Haidara, Dummett, Colback, Cabella (Vuckic 80), Gouffran, Perez, Sissoko (Anita 73), Riviere (Armstrong 60).
Referee: Andre Marriner.