LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min scored his first goals of the campaign as they put their early season struggles behind them with the 4-0 thrashing of fellow London side Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.
Palace boasted the meanest defence in the top flight before the game, conceding twice in four matches, but Son’s brace, an own goal by Patrick van Aanholt and Erik Lamela’s strike inside 45 minutes gave Spurs their first win since the opening day.
Serge Aurier was given his first start of the season and repaid his manager Mauricio Pochettino’s faith with a stellar performance. He engineered the strike that was eventually credited as a own goal by van Aanholt, laid on an assist and also helped to nullify the threat of Palace’s Wilfried Zaha.
“I think he was very happy (to start) and we are very happy too now,” Pochettino told a news conference. “I think the performance was great and in the first half he was fantastic, his concentration and focus - he needs to show that every game and be consistent.
“That is the key in our team. Not only him, all the players need to be consistent and understand that to compete, we need to give our best. For sure we have quality enough to beat any team.”
Roy Hodgson’s side were behind after nine minutes, when Son ran on to a long ball from Toby Alderweireld before shifting it on to his left foot in the area and driving into the bottom corner, leaving goalkeeper Vicente Guaita motionless.
The South Korean then turned provider in the 21st minute, playing the ball to Aurier who was overlapping on the right into the box and struck a low cross, only for it to deflect into the net off Palace defender Van Aanholt.
Aurier returned the favour barely two minutes later. A deep cross by the Ivorian found Son at the far post to volley in the third before Lamela got a fourth just before halftime by firing home Harry Kane’s cross from the edge of the six yard box.
Spurs took their foot off the gas in the second half, presumably with one eye on their opening Champions League group game against Olympiakos Piraeus in Greece on Wednesday.
Palace barely registered any dangerous attacks - for all their defensive solidity before this game, they have now not scored in three out of five league matches.
“We are obviously unhappy with our first half performance and we are all, me, the players, the staff, quite prepared to accept responsibility for that,” Hodgson said.
“We didn’t show the intensity we should... But I don’t want to take too much away from Tottenham in that spell because that was a spell where they played very well.”
“I’m glad it didn’t become more than 4-0,” he added.
Reporting by Christian Radnedge; Editing by Ken Ferris and Pritha Sarkar