Lucas Moura scored a spectacular goal as Tottenham Hotspur beat Norwich City 3-0 on Sunday and young midfielder Oliver Skipper also staked his claim under Antonio Conte against his former club
Lucas Moura understood the assignment.
So too did Man of the Match Oliver Skipp, already a fans favourite and destined to become a big player in Antonio Conte ’s future plans.
Defeat or even a draw was not an option against one of the worst teams, statistically at least, in the league.
They had to win. No excuses and no hard-luck stories.
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Norwich was a gift horse Tottenham could not afford to look in the mouth.
Nor did they. Skipp and Moura shone like Christmas lights in an even contest settled by Spurs’ superior finishing. The north Londoners didn’t even see that much of the ball in the first half. But when their chances came, their finishes were devastating.
First, after just ten minutes, Moura quite literally ran rings around Chelsea loanee Billy Gilmour before trading passes with Son Heung Min and finding the top corner with laser-guided accuracy.
From Son Heung Min’s 66th-minute corner, Ben Davies flicked the ball on and Davinson Sanchez smashed it home.
And 13 minutes from time, substitute Matt Doherty picked Davies from the byline on the edge of the box. The Welsh left-back played a one-two with Skipp and rolled the ball on to Son to blast into the bottom corner.
The scoreline could have been even more emphatic. Ben Davies mistimed his run and arrived just too late to get his toes onto Son’s free-kick delivered to the back post, ten minutes before the break.
Harry Kane can’t buy a Premier League goal at the moment. Slipped in down the right by Moura four minutes later, he correctly tried and chip Norwich keeper Tim Krul.
He looked to have chosen the right option but the ball floated over the Dutchman and agonisingly wide. It didn’t matter. Spurs were ultimately too good.
State of the art across their front six, even though they are a right state at the back.
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So don’t be fooled by the scoreline. Conte will still go shopping for defender in January because this could have been very different had Teemu Pukki not shot straight at Hugo Lloris three minutes in.
Or if Pukki or even Adam Idah had had the composure to do better from Brandon Williams’ cutback on the hour.
Or if substitute Josh Sargeant had not shot against his own ankles from six yards in the 85th minute.
Norwich boss Dean Smith will surely go hunting for some strikers in the mid-season window for the same reasons.
The Canaries – despite losing for the first time in five games under Smith – can’t possibly stay up without more firepower.
Conte can’t possibly hope to challenge for the top four without more defenders.