Superb Son felt Spurs responsibility without Kane, says Stellini
Son’s superb brace in the second half helped Spurs to a 3-0 victory at Deepdale and into the fifth-round, with debutant Arnaut Danjuma also on the scoresheet.
Last season’s Golden Boot winner has previously found the net in just three matches in the course of a miserable campaign but, with Kane rested for the first time this season, Son produced one of his best performances in months.
“We could feel this responsibility from Sonny and, without Harry, he was the most important striker for us,” said Stellini — Antonio Conte’s assistant, who was deputising on media duties after the game.
“We played with [Ivan] Perisic [as an auxiliary striker and] not in his perfect position so Sonny was important to find a way to score and to let the team win. Absolutely it will be big for his confidence. He’s a top player. He has only to wait for the right moment and feel comfortable to find the space to attack and to play one vs one and this evening was a good game for him.”
Netherlands forward Danjuma joined Spurs on loan from Villarreal in the week and came off the bench to play up front for the final 20 minutes, finishing well to mark his debut with Spurs’ third goal of the night.
“It was a good start for him to score in his first game,” Stellini said of the substitute. “We are looking forward to working with him, we have to discover this guy, he can play in many positions in the three in front. We are happy for that but I also want to mention the three at the back because they played a really good game. Sanchez was captain, it was a good match for Patron and all the three at the back.”
Conte made seven changes from the win over Fulham on Monday night, with Davinson Sanchez captaining the side and a entirely different back six.
“It’s important. It’s important because we spoke a lot about changing mentality and what it means to change mentality is really important to have players who didn’t play the last game and if we make changes the result is the same,” Stellini said.
“For Antonio it’s very important to have a team and a squad where every player plays the same level and nothing changes if you make changes. This is a good point to start because we have a tough schedule and a lot of games to play, with games every three days and we need to have the confidence to make changes.
“We are happy because we started the game like we expected from the team. We made some changes but nothing changed from the last performance so we have to be happy for that. We created a comfortable second half because we played a great first half and the ball moved quickly. We have only to wait for the right moment to find the solution like Sonny did. It was a great performance.”
A raucous away end of nearly 6,000 Spurs supporters chanted particularly vociferously about former player Sol Campbell following a newspaper interview in which he appealed for the abuse of him to stop.
“Honestly I didn’t hear this,” said Stellini. “I discover now what you said. It’s not for me a moment to comment on this, but I hope it never happens again.”