Home Sports English Premier League Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

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Spurs are now five points adrift of a top-four place and leapfrog West Ham into sixth on goal difference, with Everton, who play later on Sunday, three points further back.

It was a deserved victory for the hosts, who hit the woodwork three times after creating a number of excellent chances.

Harry Kane saw an early effort cannon off the left-hand post before setting Spurs on their way, calmly slotting in the opener from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s superb pass on the stroke of half-time.

While Wolves carried a threat on the break they were forced to ride their luck at times, with Kane and Dele Alli both hitting the right-hand post within seconds of each other.

And Hojbjerg unsurprisingly doubled Spurs’ advantage, reacting first after Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio had parried a Gareth Bale effort to slide the ball into the bottom right corner.

Romain Saiss, Adama Traore and Fabio Silva all had good opportunities to reply for the visitors, but not for the first time this season it was a frustrating day in front of goal for Wolves, who remain 12th in the table.

This dominant Spurs display was brimming with everything that was absent in their defeat at Leeds eight days ago.

Interim head coach Ryan Mason will have been delighted by the purpose and poise that his players exhibited and will now be optimistic that Spurs can secure a place in next term’s Europa League.

While it was not their goal at the outset of the season, that may provide some consolation at the end of a topsy-turvy campaign and would undoubtedly be a preferable outcome to ending up in the Europa Conference League, which would involve a qualifying round over the summer.

Kane, who scored for the first time in a month, will be probably be keen to avoid that situation, particularly with the rearranged European Championship coming into view.

The England captain served early notice of his intentions with a brilliant long-range strike that smashed the base of the Wolves post and was excellent throughout.

Alli also impressed in front of the watching England boss Gareth Southgate, showing glimpses of the qualities that once made him a first choice for the Three Lions.

In his third consecutive start, he ghosted past Saiss on the right touchline during the first half and the only disappointment will have been that he did not cap a fine display with his first top-flight goal since 7 March 2020.

Despite a recent upturn in form, Wolves are going to finish in their lowest position since returning to the Premier League in 2018-19.

And while there can be few complaints about the quality of their overall football, it is easy to understand why – with only the three relegated clubs and Burnley having managed to find the back of the net on fewer occasions.

The club paid a significant sum for Fabio Silva last September, but the teenager has had to acclimatise to a new country in difficult times and is still very much a work in progress.

That was highlighted by the way in which he spurned two early chances that could have put the visitors in front.

His first effort was blocked and he then dragged a shot wide from an almost identical position on the right-hand side of the Spurs penalty area just before the half-hour mark.

Silva, 18, also lacked conviction when presented with a gilt-edged chance by Morgan Gibbs-White midway through the second half and was withdrawn with eight minutes remaining.

While captain Conor Coady was excellent at the back and twice cleared off the line before the break, it is at the other end of the pitch where boss Nuno Espirito Santo is likely to focus this summer.

Spurs interim head coach Ryan Mason speaking to BBC Sport: “The most important thing is to win. Today our performance was excellent – we controlled the game. Our attacking players will be disappointed there weren’t more goals – they deserved them.

“[Dele Alli is] professional. It’s not easy for professional footballers to spend a long time on the sidelines. Dele has started the last three games – that says a lot about him. He loves football, he runs and he fights. He’s disappointed he didn’t get a goal because he deserved one, he had a really good game.

“This is Tottenham Hotspur. We want to be playing in the biggest competition in the biggest games. This season hasn’t gone to plan.”

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo speaking to BBC Sport: “We were missing lot of things. Not all the game but mainly on the moments when we conceded we were missing discipline, organisation and being aggressive to solve a simple situation.

“We repeated the same mistakes. We didn’t test [Hugo] Lloris, we got into good situations but didn’t put the ball on the goal. The finishing was very bad. We want to keep trying to improve and finding new solutions to our game.”

On Raul Jimenez, who remains sidelined with a head injury: “He’s OK, he meets the specialist on Tuesday and based on that information we will decide [what to do next]. He is working and training but we have to be really patient and cannot afford any kind of mistake.”

-bbc

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