Spurs in for a tough, long season, admits Kane

Christian Eriksen has been praised for his game-changing cameo in Spurs' 3-1 win over Aston Villa. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Christian Eriksen has been praised for his game-changing cameo in Spurs' 3-1 win over Aston Villa. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Liverpool and Manchester City have laid down a marker for the new Premier League season after respective hammerings in their openers, so Tottenham know "it's going to be a tough, long season".

Harry Kane scored a brace - his first goals at their new stadium in London - as Spurs came from behind to beat promoted Aston Villa 3-1 on Saturday night.

However, it was not as smooth sailing as the scoreline suggested, with the visitors taking a surprise lead well into the second half through John McGinn's early opener. But the introduction of Christian Eriksen off the bench gave Spurs the cutting edge they had lacked for the first hour.

The Denmark midfielder played his part as club record signing Tanguy Ndombele, who arrived in the summer for £53.8 million (S$90.3 million) from Lyon, sparked the fightback by curling home the equaliser 17 minutes from time.

His cross was turned goalwards by Colombia defender Davinson Sanchez, and though Tom Heaton made a brilliant save, the ball was worked back to France midfielder Ndombele, who scored via a slight deflection off Tyrone Mings.

Villa goalkeeper Heaton was again helpless four minutes from time when the ball broke Kane's way for him to break his duck, and he nabbed his double in added time with a trademark finish curled low into the far corner.

Afterwards, the England captain paid tribute to Eriksen's impact as a "super-sub" to prevent last season's Champions League finalists from suffering an opening-day shock.

Although the Villans wilted under Spurs' relentless second-half pressure, Dean Smith's men had their chances to score more, with new recruit Trezeguet culpable after being at the end of a couple of promising counter-attacks.

Acknowledging the tough contest, Kane said: "Liverpool set the standard, then City... We have got off to a winning start and there are still lots of things to work on."

Of Eriksen, whose future is uncertain after a summer of transfer speculation linking him with a move to Spain as he has just one year left on his contract, the striker said: "We know the quality he has on the ball, his assists, his goals.

"He dictates the pace of the game and for me, it's perfect. I can make my little movements off that."

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, who took responsibility for his side's lacklustre first-half display, also hailed Eriksen's game-changing cameo. "We are talking about top-quality players," he said. "We were a bit confused and that is my fault. In the second half, we fixed the problems."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2019, with the headline 'Spurs in for a tough, long season, admits Kane'. Print Edition | Subscribe