July 25 2014 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Premier League: Tottenham 3 Aston Villa 0
Tottenham finished their campaign with a comprehensive home win over Aston Villa which secured a sixth-place finish and Europa League qualification.
Spurs needed a point to ensure that they were ahead of Manchester United in the final standings and the job was done by half-time as the Lilywhites went into the interval with a 3-0 lead.
Paulinho opened the scoring inside 15 minutes and Nathan Baker then put the ball into his own net before Emmanuel Adebayor netted from the penalty spot.
The second half was a quieter affair but Tim Sherwood took the opportunity to introduce three young midfielders in Milos Veljkovic, Nabil Bentaleb and Alex Pritchard, who made his Tottenham debut - and he also allowed a fan to sit in the manager’s seat.
There were two changes to Spurs’ starting line-up, with Vlad Chiriches replacing the suspended Younes Kaboul following his red card at West Ham, and Sandro coming into the midfield in place of the injured Aaron Lennon.
The Villa fans were in good voice in the opening stages, while the home supporters seemed to be counting the minutes until the end of a disappointing season.
However, the Lilywhites were well on top on the pitch. Adebayor delivered a cross from the left, with Harry Kane heading at Brad Guzan, and the pair then combined again as Adebayor slid the ball through to his strike partner, who was denied by Guzan four yards out.
The opening goal came in the 14th minute thanks to some quick passing on the edge of the box. Christian Eriksen fed the ball in to Paulinho, who played a quick one-two with Gylfi Sigurdsson to bear down on Guzan. The Brazilian’s initial effort was saved but the ball fell kindly for him and he tapped into an empty net.
Paulinho could have doubled the lead moments later as Spurs attacked down the right-hand side, but he scuffed his shot across goal.
The Lilywhites’ dominance continued though and they made it 2-0 in the 35th minute. Eriksen’s chipped cross from the left was blocked but Danny Rose recovered the loose ball in the box and drove in a cross which Baker headed into his own net from six yards out.
The onslaught continued as Eriksen freed Kane with a fine through ball, but Fabian Delph tracked the Spurs striker brilliantly and slid in to make a fine last-ditch tackle at the crucial moment.
The goal rush could not be stopped through because, three minutes after their second strike, Tottenham had a penalty as Sandro’s shot struck Gabriel Agbonlahor on the arm - and Adebayor beat Guzan from the spot.
It could have been 4-0 before half-time as Sandro lofted the ball into the middle of the box and Michael Dawson leapt to head goalwards, but Guzan dived to tip the ball wide.
Villa were more competitive in the second half and Delph sent a low drive just wide, but Spurs still had a comfortable lead on the hour-mark so Sherwood introduced 18-year-old Veljkovic, 19-year-old Bentaleb and 21-year-old Pritchard in turn.
With 20-year-old Kane and 23-year-old Rose also on the field, Spurs consequently finished the season with five players who have come through their youth system.
And, given that head coach Sherwood – who had played a key role in the club’s development system - is now expected to be replaced, that made it a somewhat fitting end to the season.
The head coach also added to the party atmosphere late in the game by inviting a fan to come out of the crowd, wear his gilet and sit in the manager’s seat for a few moments.
Tottenham: Lloris, Naughton, Dawson, Chiriches, Rose, Sigurdsson (Pritchard 83), Sandro (Veljkovic 62), Paulinho (Bentaleb 74), Eriksen, Kane, Adebayor