No signings but Spurs show title dreams are real

PSG defender Marquinhos fending off Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli during their ICC friendly. Spurs have yet to sign a player.
PSG defender Marquinhos fending off Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli during their ICC friendly. Spurs have yet to sign a player.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ORLANDO (Florida) • Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has said that there were "a lot of positives to take" after Harry Kane's late penalty helped Spurs start their pre-season preparations in emphatic fashion, as Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) imploded in Orlando.

And although Unai Emery's side were difficult to break down, late strikes from Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane, both off the bench, sealed a 4-2 triumph in front of 33,332 fans at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando in the International Champions Cup (ICC).

"Our first game, it's good to feel the competition. It's a friendly but playing this kind of team, it's always good to compete," said Pochettino.

"The result isn't important but it is very positive. We just need to recover and arrive at the start of the Premier League season in good condition."

It is very early days in this pre-season yet there was certainly enough on show from the north London team to suggest that they could be strong contenders for the Premier League title this coming season.

On six minutes, Edinson Cavani powered the French side ahead. Tottenham looked culpable defensively, yet just five minutes later, Christian Eriksen pulled the Premier League side level.

The Danish international unleashed an unstoppable, curling effort from 27m which flew past Kevin Trapp into the top corner.

While Eriksen's equaliser was world class, Eric Dier's 18th-minute goal was pure luck. Trapp's poor clearance was hit straight at the Spurs player who gleefully put the ball rebound over the line.

Javier Pastore's close-range strike on 36 minutes brought the entertaining tussle level once more before Kane and Alderweireld, brought on by Pochettino during a raft of eight half-time changes, sealed the victory in the last ten minutes.

The win has also in a way proved that Tottenham - who have yet to make any signings this summer - are able to compete with the big guns with their current squad.

Indeed, Spurs have instead been left weaker with England right-back Kyle Walker signing for Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola last week in a £54 million (S$95 million) deal while Dier, the English international midfielder, continues to be courted by Manchester United.

Yet Eriksen is adamant that Spurs' lack of action in the transfer market will not hamper Pochettino's push for the league title.

"I don't think you need to spend to win anything," said the 25-year-old former Ajax Amsterdam midfielder.

"It's just a matter of how you see a team, how the players are - only Walker has left in our team and we know what we did last season so I can't see why we shouldn't be able to do hopefully even better.

"I think it will be very close this season because everyone is in Europe and everyone has to think about two or three tournaments, and the top sides will want to win everything so the key is to try and keep everyone fit and sharp."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2017, with the headline 'No signings but Spurs show title dreams are real'. Print Edition | Subscribe