Tottenham Hotspur emerged from their recent slump to demolish Stoke City 5-1 at Wembley in the Premier League on Saturday and continue a run of handsome victories over Mark Hughes’s side.
One win in five games had dropped Tottenham out of the title race, and out of the top four, but once Ryan Shawcross’s first-half own goal had given them the lead they proved unstoppable.
Tottenham have scored 17 goals and conceded one in their last four meetings with Stoke and are the first English top-flight side to win four consecutive matches against the same club by a four-goal margin.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team had found goals hard to come by at their temporary Wembley home in this campaign, especially against teams they brushed aside with ease last season, but Stoke again proved compliant opposition.
Four goals arrived in a flurry after halftime with the impressive Son Heung-min slotting in after 53 minutes and Harry Kane, guilty of missing an earlier sitter, making it 3-0 with a thumping header.
Kane side-footed his second in the 65th minute to take his tally to 18 in all competitions this season before Christian Eriksen weighed in with Tottenham’s fifth, following a Son pass.
Kane has now scored 33 Premier League goals in the calendar year with four games left, three short of the record set by Alan Shearer in 1995.
Shawcross managed to score at the right end to give Stoke a consolation goal but it could not disguise a feeble effort.
“The most important thing today was the victory, that we get what we deserved,” Pochettino said.
“The performance was very good, a very great performance from the team, and it is not easy to score five. But I am not surprised by the performance, it was like against Watford and West Bromwich. Always you need a bit of luck to open up games.”
Tottenham, who will return to a brand new stadium next to their old White Hart Lane ground next season, are still 15 points adrift of leaders Manchester City who play on Sunday.
While a title challenge looks beyond them, Pochettino said a return to the free-scoring football of last season can help them in their bid for a top-four finish.
“That is how we need to play from now. Consistency between now and the end of the season is so important if we want to finish in the top four. The team showed their true quality.”