Full Time: Tottenham 3-1 Southampton
Tottenham swept aside a sorry Southampton to move back into the Premier League’s top four as the scale of the task taken on by Ralph Hasenhuttl was laid bare at a sparse Wembley Stadium.
Southampton parted company with Mark Hughes on Monday and had former captain Kelvin Davis in the dugout, with Austrian Hasenhuttl watching from the stands here in London, but they offered nothing in the way of a new-manager bounce against their former boss.
Spurs set the tone early on, as Kane converted thanks to quick thinking on the part of Kieran Trippier and Christian Eriksen, from there on in it was a stroll.
Two early second-half strikes from Lucas Moura and Heung-min Son sealed the result and left the southerners in the bottom three, though Hasenhuttl was allowed to crack a smile when Charlie Austin bagged his first League goal of the season in the final minute of injury time.
Southampton are enduring their worst season defensively since their first back in the Premier League six years ago, which comes as no surprise with the defending on show at Wembley.
A quick corner was all it took for Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida to allow a World Cup golden boot winner the freedom of their penalty area as Kane slipped between the pair to prod home Eriksen’s low cross following a his seventh goal in six appearances against the south coast club.
What followed in front of a disappointing, yet understandable, turnout of just 33,012 supporters at Wembley resembled a scene from Spurs’ Hotspur Way training ground. Davis had clearly taken a defend at all costs stance for his solitary game in the dugout as the visitors sat deep and negated to press.
Spurs moved the ball about with ease as Alex McCarthy was called on to stop from Son, Eriksen and Kane, while on the break, Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini offered little.
Hugo Lloris was largely untroubled but had to keep alert when preventing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, a midfielder with a penchant for long-range stikes, curling one past him, tipping the Dane’s powerful strike onto the upright.
After a week in which, Pochettino admitted, games against Chelsea, Inter Milan and Arsenal had drained his side, Southampton could have been tempted to come out in the second half and look to test the reserves of their hosts. Instead, they continued to invite pressure and paid for it inside ten minutes of the restart.
Hasenhuttl will have been dismayed as his new side failed to learn from their early error and left another forward free from a corner. This time Lucas, benefiting from plenty of space to volley goalwards when the second ball landed at his feet, a hand from Stephens stopped his first effort from finding the back of the net, but nothing blocked as he followed up across goal to double the lead.
Minutes later and poor decision making would undo the Saints again. Instead of simply clearing out of play Matt Targett, who last walked out at Wembley in the play-off final while on loan at Fulham last season, looked to shield the ball from Lucas before directing his clearance straight at the Brazilian, the deflection taking the ball to Son who wrapped the win up.
Southampton had their chances to get back into the game, but proved why goals have been so hard to come by in recent years as James Ward-Prowse squandered good chances, firing straight at Lloris from close range after the Frenchman had parried another drive from Hojbjerg into his path, though either side of the Englishman’s chance Nathan Redmond and Charlie Austin were perhaps unfortunate not to get a consolation, denied by the crossbar and Lloris respectively. The latter, at least, was rewarded for his efforts when Spurs’ finally broke late on, the goal-shy striker allowed to run free of the back four and finish across Lloris.
For Pochettino it was almost the perfect evening after last week’s exertions. A comfortable win secured without breaking sweat as their top four rivals dropped points, while for his former employers, a sense of optimism ahead of the game brought by the appointment of a progressive, exciting coach, was dampened by a performance completely at odds with his ideals, Hasenhuttl has a long season ahead.