Football

Preston 0 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur

Preston 0 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur. Son Heung-min said he needed his two stunning goals against Preston in order to boost his confidence as he helped Tottenham reach the FA Cup fifth round.

The South Korean won the Premier League Golden Boot with 23 goals last season but has so far struggled to match that form in 2022-23.

The 30-year-old was inspired at Deepdale, belting in a 30-yard strike to break the deadlock on 50 minutes.

“I needed those goals for my confidence,” Son told BBC Sport.

“As a striker or as an attacking player, the important thing is that you get that goal. It’s important that I could help the team go to the next round. I’m very, very happy.”

After his opener Son soon doubled the advantage, turning and finishing smartly amid torrential rain.

Arnaut Danjuma, signed on loan from Villarreal this week, completed the scoring after coming on as a late substitute.

Tottenham assistant manager Cristian Stellini praised Son after the game, saying: “Sonny is a great player.

“He has to wait for the right moment to find the space. He was very focused on the match. He had to wait for the right time to do a good job.”

Antonio Conte’s side goes into the draw for the fifth round, which takes place on Monday evening.

Conte made seven changes to the Spurs starting XI which beat Fulham 1-0 in the Premier League on Monday, including leaving Harry Kane on the bench.

Kane is aiming to become Tottenham’s all-time leading scorer and is level with Jimmy Greaves on 266 goals but had been struggling with illness this week, missing training on Wednesday and Thursday.

Alongside him on the bench was new signing Danjuma, but the Spurs side still contained first-teamers such as Son and Dejan Kulusevski – and they started the game on the front foot.

Kulusevski had a shot brilliantly blocked by midfielder Ryan Ledson while home goalkeeper Freddie Woodman made two fine saves from long-range Son efforts.

They had more than three-quarters of the possession in the opening 20 minutes, however, Preston grew into the game and began to restrict Spurs as the game wore on.

A three-man midfield of Ledson, Ben Whiteman, and Ali McCann gave Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma little time or space to create.

It took until the opening minutes of the second half for Preston’s resolve to be broken, with Son pulling out a moment of quality to remind fans why he was the Premier League Golden Boot winner last season.

His seventh of this campaign was arguably his best, as he found space 30 yards out before curling an unstoppable strike past Woodman.

Preston raised their game after falling behind and gave Tottenham a much tougher test than when they last met – a 5-1 defeat in a 2009 EFL Cup meeting.

However, Son killed the game after 69 minutes, spinning off Jordan Storey after receiving an Ivan Perisic pass and firing past Woodman.

Conte was then able to switch up his squad, including giving a debut to Danjuma – while Kane was able to remain an unused sub.

And Danjuma, who signed for Spurs having appeared to be on the verge of joining Everton, scored 15 minutes into his first appearance as he turned in a low Kulusevski cross before celebrating with the away fans.

Stellini added: “We’re looking forward to working with Danjuma. It’s a good start for him. He’s a good guy. He needs time to understand everything but it’s important to start well in this type of competition.”

While Spurs have reached the last 16 of the FA Cup they remain in a fight to reach their Premier League aims, trailing fourth-placed Manchester United by three points. A meeting with Manchester City next weekend could be pivotal for their ambitions.

“When you look at the scoresheet it looks like a comfortable win, but the FA Cup has never been comfortable,” Son added. “We suffered a lot away from home. The lads did an amazing job.

“There’s a lot to talk about our performance, but we were focused and did what we had to do.

“We can still improve so much. I think this game can give us good energy and let’s move on to next weekend.”

source – BBC

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