LONDON (AFP) - Son Heung-Min made his case to start Tottenham’s crunch Champions League clash with Juventus on Wednesday by scoring twice to ensure a routine 2-0 win over Huddersfield at Wembley on Saturday (March 3).
Victory saw Spurs leapfrog Liverpool, who host Newcastle later (1730GMT), into third in the Premier League, but more importantly open up a five-point lead over fifth-placed Chelsea in the battle for a top four finish.
Son was the star of the show as the South Korean took his tally for the season to 15 goals with a pair of calm finishes either side of half-time to extend Tottenham’s unbeaten run in all competitions to 17 games.
“I think Son is one of the players that you always expect amazing things (from),” said Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.
“He’s a talented player, consistent, very professional and of course a player like him or like Harry (Kane) that works a lot, that work pays back.”
Pochettino surprisingly left Son out his starting XI as Spurs came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 away to Juventus just under three weeks ago.
However, the Argentine hinted Son had done enough to make himself undroppable, replacing him 20 minutes from time to keep him fresh for midweek.
“He’s not a machine and he needs to rest,” added Pochettino when quizzed on why Son had been withdrawn when on a hat-trick.
Despite the spectre of Juventus looming, Pochettino named his strongest available side, and Spurs could have been out of sight had Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen shown the same composure in front of goal as Son.
“The manager has to choose 11 players but there are many more,” said Son. “I try my best and try to be ready at all times.”
Alli just couldn’t stretch to turn home Kane’s driven cross inside three minutes before Son’s cut-back for Kane produced a fine save from Jonas Lossl.
Son was in a class of his own all afternoon and it was little surprise he showed more poise than his teammates to finally open the scoring 27 minutes in.
Alli’s fine pass split the Huddersfield defence wide open and Son took his time to round Lossl before slotting into an empty net.
It took Huddersfield 53 minutes to pose a threat when substitute Tom Ince latched onto a long ball in behind the Spurs defence and saw his well-struck effort beaten away by Hugo Lloris.
However, seconds later the game was over as a contest when Son stooped to head home at the back post.
Kane may have failed to score for the first time in six games, but the England striker deserved most of the credit for Son’s second as his wonderful cross picked out his teammate perfectly.
“We’ve seen an unbelievable cross by Harry Kane and they scored a wonderful goal,” said Huddersfield manager David Wagner, who admitted his side were simply outclassed.
“This goal said everything about the teams which met today.
“Our team that fought, tried everything, that showed attitude and effort, and another team which has shown top quality.”
Indeed, Kane’s failure to continue his scoring streak was the only negative on a comfortable afternoon for the hosts as he skewed wide when completely unmarked from an Eriksen corner 10 minutes from time.