There was to be no scare for Tottenham in the Europa Conference League on Thursday night following a convincing 3-0 win over Pacos de Ferreira.
Going into the second leg of their play-off tie 1-0 down from last week’s game in Portugal, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men were in cruise control from the very first minute and perhaps should have won by more.
Harry Kane was the man to grab all the headlines as he hit a double just over 24 hours on from his decision to stay in north London, but it wasn’t just the England man who impressed on the night.
Harry Winks and Giovani Lo Celso both took their chance in midfield after struggling in the first leg, with new Spurs signing Bryan Gil looking lively in a new role just off Kane.
Fellow summer arrival Cristian Romero also took his opportunity in the team on the night where he made his first start at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for his new club.
Registering four assists in the 2020/21 campaign for Atalanta, the Argentine almost got his first in a Spurs shirt inside the first 20 seconds as Kane took down his outstanding long ball and missed the target by inches.
Romero may be a centre-back by trade but his time in Italy highlighted that he does also have a big impact in the final third.
Looking to push on through midfield at times when he received the ball, the referee put a stop to a marauding forward run from the player midway inside the first half as he was adjudged to have committed a foul following a 50-50 challenge.
Replays showed the decision to be harsh and the player was extremely unfortunate to be pulled back just as he was about to cross the halfway line and burst towards Pacos’ area in a lightning-quick break.
Putting himself about at the back on the rare occasions when the visitors looked to trouble Spurs, Romero continued to push forward after the break.
This time linking up well with fellow countryman Giovani Lo Celso after making his way into the box, the centre-back just couldn’t execute his turn as the classy midfielder tried to pick him out on the penalty spot.
Romero again broke forward a minute later in his quest to attack and it resulted in Winks having to drop back and cover the gap next to Eric Dier that he had left open.
As much as Spurs fans will want to see Romero get forward and wreak havoc in the opposition box over the course of his Tottenham career, Espirito Santo may not feel exactly the same way.
The Lilywhites have looked solid at the back so far this season in the Premier League, recording clean sheets in the 1-0 victories over Man City and Wolves following fine displays from their backline.
The head coach will want to keep it that way and that, unfortunately for Romero, may result in the defender having to be more disciplined as Spurs look to keep their shape at the back.
Showing he’s comfortable on the ball and strong in the tackle, the ex-Genoa man’s performance will have given Espirito Santo something to think about ahead of Sunday’s game against Watford.
However, he may have to wait until after the first international break of the season for his first start in the Premier League as it would be rather harsh on one of Dier or Davinson Sanchez to make way following their impressive starts to the term.
The centre-back decision isn’t going to be the only one Espirito Santo will have to make this weekend, however, with a number of players taking their chance in the side.
“I think we played a good game from the first minute,” said the boss in his post-match press conference. “We didn’t allow any chances, we played good movements and scored early, it makes things easier.
“We scored again and every moment the game was in control. Good individual performances, good play.
“In the second half we created the chances, I think we had too many clear chances that we should do better. But really pleased.”
Coming along nicely with three wins from four games since the season started, Espirito Santo is going to have a selection dilemma on his hands rather soon with all his new signings pushing for a start.
Romero did just that against Pacos de Ferreira and he will be hoping it results in a place in the Tottenham XI sooner rather than later.
Source by Football London