Aston Villa 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2
Harry Kane was hailed as “unbelievable” after the England striker’s 21st and 22nd goals of the season inspired Tottenham Hotspur to a routine win at hapless Aston Villa on Sunday that boosted their Premier League title ambitions.
Kane ended Villa’s resistance in the space of three minutes either side of halftime, taking his tally to 18 goals in his last 20 league appearances, assisted on each occasion by a superb delivery from Dele Alli.
Kane’s double left a delighted Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino to enthuse in an interview with BBC: “Harry Kane is an unbelievable guy who works hard for the team. I am very pleased for him.”
The victory for Spurs consigned bottom-placed Villa to a 20th league defeat of the season while Pochettino’s side moved just two points behind leaders Leicester City at the top of the table.
Second-placed Spurs also extended their lead over their north London rivals Arsenal, in third place, to six points.
Leicester have the chance to restore their five-point lead when they host struggling Newcastle United on Monday.
Pochettino was delighted that after a recent problematic run, featuring discouraging defeats in the league at West Ham United and in the Europa League at Borussia Dortmund, his side had regained their momentum.
“It was a good victory and three important points after a few games that have not been so good,” Pochettino said. “We created more chances and played well.
“We need to keep the pressure on and win games. You cannot stop the dream of the supporters and they are right to dream. But we need to work hard.”
In truth, it was rather all too easy for Tottenham as their increasingly influential combination of Alli and Kane linked up handsomely for the goals after Spurs had already hit the woodwork twice in the first half.
Just before halftime, Kane, who had already come close three times and had hit the bar after just four minutes, strode onto Alli’s quickly-taken free kick to shoot past Brad Guzan.
Then the youngsters who are seen as key men in England’s Euro 2016 bid linked up again straight after the break as Kane slotted home Alli’s low cross.
“Dele is a great player. He is there to score and make assists. I am happy to get two off him today – but everyone did their job,” Kane told the BBC.
For Villa’s long-suffering fans, though, there was nothing but more misery as the “Lerner Out” banner reappeared in protest at the stewardship of owner Randy Lerner.
Relegation looks a certainty for the former European champions as they lie eight points adrift of 19th-placed Newcastle at the foot of the table.
Manager Remi Garde pondered the two occasions that Villa hit the woodwork and felt his side’s commitment and attitude had been better than in recent weeks.
“I love football and hate defeat,” he said. “Five (defeats) in a row? I don’t think I’ve experienced that in my career. I can only rely on myself to be strong.”