Tottenham hammered Leeds 4-0 on Saturday to put a smile back on Antonio Conte’s face and plunge Marcelo Bielsa’s team deeper into Premier League relegation woes.
The visitors, who had lost four of their five previous league games, were leading 3-0 at halftime after goals from Matt Doherty, new recruit Dejan Kulusevski and Harry Kane.
A late attack by Son Heung-min after an accurate pass from Kane completed the defeat at Elland Road.
The win lifted Tottenham to seventh in the Premier League, four points behind Manchester United, who are fourth with a game in hand, as they try to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
It also brightened the mood for Spurs boss Conte, who insisted on Friday that he was committed to his job after comments following their midweek loss to Burnley cast doubt on his future at the club.
“I’m happy for my players,” Conte told Spurs internal media. “Today I asked for answers, not only about football aspects, but especially in the character, in the mind, in the desire, the will to fight, the will to win duels.
“Today, in a difficult game – remember to play against Leeds, in this stadium, is not easy – to have answers like this is good for me.”
Leeds enjoyed most of the ball in the first half and had an early chance to take the lead, but Pascal Struijk’s header went wide.
The Spurs took the lead in the 10th minute with a breakaway goal.
Harry Winks set Ryan Sessegnon free on the left and his center was perfect for Doherty to get to the far post and hit home.
Five minutes later it was 2-0. Kulusevski appeared to pose no threat as he had a ball near the corner flag, but he wriggled free, trading passes with Doherty and beating Illan Meslier on his nearest post.
The home side came painfully close when defender Robin Koch hit the post but Spurs, who looked sharp at halftime, led 3-0 within half an hour when Kane produced a clinical finish from a tight corner after a glorious ball over the top by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
– Record breakers –
Tottenham posed a constant threat after half-time and were close to extending their lead several times, with Meslier holding off attempts by Doherty and Sweden international Kulusevski.
Leeds should have pulled one back with about 15 minutes to go as Hugo Lloris flew out of target but his clearance clouded
Stuart Dallas dribbled towards an open goal, but it took way too long and his final shot was blocked.
Son made it 4-0 in the 85th minute and finished smartly after being found by man-of-the-match Kane.
It meant the Tottenham players have now scored a Premier League goal together for the 37th time, overtaking Chelsea’s Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard as the pair that have helped each other for the most goals in the history of the competition.
Rodrigo’s free kick went off the post in time, but it would have been little consolation for Leeds, who have now conceded 20 goals in their last five games.
Leeds, in their second season back in the Premier League, remain three points above the relegation zone, but have played more games than all but one of the teams.
“We need to defend better,” Leeds boss Bielsa told the BBC under pressure.
“We have to make the opponents worry more when they have the ball and try to attack without defending and defending badly without it stopping us from attacking.”