LONDON • While the introduction of Harry Kane could be seen as unnecessary given that Tottenham were six goals up in their 7-0 FA Cup win, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino suggested he did so to be fair to the Tranmere Rovers home supporters who had turned up on a cold night.
A hat-trick from Fernando Llorente, two goals from Serge Aurier, and a strike each from Kane and Son Heung-min saw Tottenham comfortably through to the fourth round of the competition.
The League Two side managed to live with their illustrious Premier League opponents for most of the first half but were outclassed after the interval.
Kane came on in the 75th minute and added a seventh goal just seven minutes later. He took his tally for the season to 19 and brought Spurs a 33rd goal in 33 days, as well as their biggest away win ever in the FA Cup.
"It was the plan to give Harry Kane 15-20 minutes to play, he always wants to play. It is important too for the fans here and the opponents to enjoy Harry Kane, he's an icon in England and not everyone can have the opportunity to see him," Pochettino said.
"It was important to show some respect to the people who are here, it was very nice for everyone.
"Some of the people who paid money to see the game probably did so in the hope they might see Harry Kane in action."
Tottenham have not won the FA Cup since 1991 and silverware has also been in short supply since, with the League Cup victory in 2008 their most recent trophy.
Following the win, Spurs will welcome Chelsea to Wembley in the first leg of the League Cup semi-finals on Tuesday and Pochettino was happy that the victory will keep their momentum going.
"It was a very professional performance. I'm very pleased," he said. "I'm happy because we kept our level and we keep going in the competition."
Tranmere manager Micky Mellon acknowledged his team, who won promotion to League Two from the fifth-tier National League last term, were outclassed by a side who are third in the top flight.
"They are a fantastic football team with outrageously good players," he said. "Sometimes you have to put your hands up and say they were brilliant."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN