Spurs' midfield buzzing

Tottenham striker Harry Kane (bottom) celebrating scoring their second goal against Southampton on Wednesday, with midfielder Christian Eriksen (centre) and defender Eric Dier. Spurs' 4-1 win has spurred confidence that they can cut Chelsea's big lea
Tottenham striker Harry Kane (bottom) celebrating scoring their second goal against Southampton on Wednesday, with midfielder Christian Eriksen (centre) and defender Eric Dier. Spurs' 4-1 win has spurred confidence that they can cut Chelsea's big lead atop the Premier League.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Kane leading the line well and Alli, Eriksen and Son are all giving excellent support

LONDON • Harry Kane believes Tottenham Hotspur have turned a corner, partly because the English Premier League side's attacking midfielders have been contributing more heavily in front of goal.

The striker scored his 10th goal of the season in the 4-1 win at Southampton on Wednesday, glancing home from a corner on 52 minutes.

The team's collective performance was up there with their best of the season and was defined by excellent displays from Dele Alli, who scored twice, and Christian Eriksen, who has hit a rich vein of form.

Alli got into dangerous areas throughout the game, as he took his season's goal tally to seven in all competitions.

Eriksen has seven, as well, and so has Son Heung Min, who came on as a substitute to score Tottenham's third.

Mauricio Pochettino's team have won five of their last six matches in all competitions and they will travel to Watford tomorrow in optimistic mood, before turning their attention to the visit of Chelsea on Wednesday - which has the feel of a season-defining game for them.

However, Kane has come to shoulder a heavy scoring burden. When he scored 28 in all competitions last season - 25 of them in the Premier League - the club's next best scorer was Erik Lamela, with just 11.

For a team with title-winning aspirations, it is clear that greater productivity is needed from the midfielders behind Kane, and so far this season, the numbers have come to look more encouraging.

"It is a great boost for confidence in a squad when there is not just one or two players scoring goals but the whole team is contributing," Kane said.

"That is what we have at the moment. We have been scoring a lot of goals recently, we feel confident and to score four at Southampton is a good achievement."

Tottenham lag 10 points behind the leaders, Chelsea, but know that they can eat into that margin with a home victory over Antonio Conte's side.

Nobody at the club wants to look beyond the Watford game but the derby against Chelsea promises a tantalising opportunity.

Kane maintained that Tottenham's positive performance at Chelsea on Nov 26, in a 2-1 defeat, "shows that we are definitely capable of beating them", but what is clear is that they no longer have any margin for error.

"We can't have too many off days," he said. "We have put together a good run and we need to keep winning. Chelsea have won 12 in a row and hopefully we can put that run to a stop.

"But it is hard to focus on other teams. We know what we have to do.

"We are focused on Watford, getting another win there, and then it's a big game against Chelsea. We don't want to fall too far behind them.

"We'll need to use our atmosphere at home. We've been very good at home this season. Would our title challenge be over if we dropped points?

"I can see why people might think that. But we are here to try to stop that from happening."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2016, with the headline 'Spurs' midfield buzzing'. Print Edition | Subscribe