5 talking points as lethargic Spurs scrape through v Shkendija in Europa League

Tottenham are just one win away from the Europa League group stages after they survived a scare to beat Macedonian side Shkendija 3-1 in the third qualifying round.

It took just four minutes for Spurs to take the lead after Heung min-Son found Erik Lamela in acres of space, with the Argentinean midfielder finishing with a precise right-footed strike into the corner.

Out of nowhere the home side equalised in the second half with a rocket out of the blue from Valmir Nafiu.

But Son regained the lead with 20 minutes to go when he rifled a close-range shot into the roof of the net

And Harry Kane came off the bench to add a third and set up a home tie against Maccabi Haifa next Thursday in the final qualifying round.

Here are five talking points from the match…

Lamela still a threat

With Spurs' vast array of attacking options, Lamela is a man who is often forgotten about by fans of other clubs.

Yet despite suffering a number of injury issues in the past he is still clearly in Mourinho's plans, and he repaid the faith shown in him here with a goal and an accomplished performance in which he could have bagged one or two more.

It is remarkable to think that this is now the 28-year-old's eighth season in north London, in what has been a very much up-and-down spell.

With the fixtures continuing to come thick and fast he is likely to continue seeing gametime in the near future, and it will be intriguing to see if he can continue to add to the goals in the next few weeks.

Bad day at the office for Winks

It was not a good evening for Harry Winks, who was hooked after 60 minutes by Mourinho following a below-par showing.

The 24-year-old central midfielder gave the ball away on a number of occasions and simply did not look at the races, which is somewhat worrying considering the strength of the opposition.

Spurs looked much better when his replacement Giovani Lo Celso came on, and the England international must now be worried that he could lose his place in the starting line-up permanently.

He will be desperate to bounce back in Spurs' home game against Newcastle United on Sunday.

Dele still out of sorts

Speculation has been rife about the future of Dele Alli after he was left out of the Spurs squad which thumped Southampton 5-2 on Sunday.

Alli has been linked with a move to PSG, although that has been played down by Mourinho, and he had a chance to gain redemption in Macedonia tonight.

But yet again he failed to offer anything like what we know he is capable of, drifting in and out of the game and not managing to make too much of an impact on proceedings, despite constant encouragement from Mourinho.

Patience is surely running from Mourinho, and it will be interesting to see if there are any developments with regards to a potential fresh start away from the club in the next few weeks.

Mourinho audible on touchline 

 

It may have been 'only' Shkendija, but that didn't stop Mourinho and his assistant Joao Sacramento from giving their players an earful all night.

You could pick up practically every word of their touchline instructions through the broadcast of the game, and it was fascinating to hear the Portuguese coaches barking orders so clearly.

“More quality, more movement” and "Wake up!" were common, while the likes of Alli and Serge Aurier barely got a moments peace, with the latter called "f****** sloppy" after one loose pass.

Tanguy Ndombele also received a large amount of instruction as he looks to continue his recent renaissance in the team.

The two barely sat down all night, and it goes to show just how important they consider the Europa League as their quest to win a trophy with Spurs continues.

Comfortable debut for Hart

Another man who was hardly shy in giving the team an earful was debutant Joe Hart.

The veteran goalkeeper was making his first appearance for Spurs since joining on a free agent in August, and was generally solid, with there being nothing he could do to stop the thunderbolt equaliser.

It was heartwarming to see the 33-year-old back in action after he made just three appearances for Burnley last season, and he seemed to relish organising his defence and asserting his presence in the team.

Hart is another who is likely to see plenty more minutes in the coming weeks, and that is something which he will no doubt be delighted with, regardless of the opposition.

 

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