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Ange Postecoglou praises Son Heung-min for beating tiredness to net winner

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 30 Mar 2024

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Ange Postecoglou hailed the high standards of “tired” Tottenham captain Son Heung-min after his late goal earned a 2-1 home win over Luton.

Spurs were able to get their Champions League qualification hopes back on track with a comeback victory against Luton after the visitors took a third-minute lead through Tahith Chong.

Tottenham captain Son hit both posts during the first half before Brennan Johnson, a half-time introduction, created the leveller when his dangerous cross was smashed into his own net by Hatters defender Issa Kabore.

Johnson turned provider again in the 86th minute from Timo Werner’s cross when he teed up Son, who slotted home via a deflection off Daiki Hashioka to earn the hosts a vital three points.

It was Son’s 15th goal of the season but more crucially moved him above 1961 double-winner Cliff Jones into outright fifth in Tottenham’s all-time scoring list on 160 goals, a matter of days after he travelled halfway across the world to feature in South Korea’s World Cup qualifiers with Thailand.

Postecoglou said: “I am sure he feels tired. Yeah, absolutely. It’s tough. When I was national team coach of Australia, we had quite a few players playing this side of the world.

“They’re long trips, there is time difference but like I said before he never looks for those clutches, Sonny.

“For him when he is available, he wants to play to the highest possible level and he keeps doing it.

“Playing for his national team is hugely important to him. Playing for this football club is hugely important to him and he wouldn’t compromise either by letting his standards drop.

“Irrespective of opposition or whatever game it is, he has this really high level of expectation on himself to be the best he can be all the time. It’s very hard to be like that.

“But he wants to maintain the highest possible standards whenever he plays and you see that with his football, his efforts, his leadership now so it’s all encompassing.

“Look, he’s been a brilliant footballer for this club for a long time and hopefully for many years to come.”

Spurs had suffered a 3-0 humbling at Fulham ahead of the international break but the prospect of a fast start in north London evaporated when Luton took the lead after three minutes.

Andros Townsend burst down the right and crossed in for Ross Barkley, who teed up Chong for his fifth goal of the season.

Tottenham went close to equalising when Son rounded Thomas Kaminski in the 20th minute, but his low effort hit both posts before Pape Sarr’s follow-up was cleared off the line by Teden Mengi.

Postecoglou sent on Wales international Johnson and he made the difference with 51 minutes played with a superb cross to force Kabore’s own-goal before Spurs hit Luton with a slick counter-attack.

Werner broke from the visitors’ corner and found Johnson, who set up Son to inflict more late woe on Luton.

Rob Edwards’ side dropped back into the bottom three after Nottingham Forest claimed a point at home to Crystal Palace.

“Yeah, I feel sick right now,” Edwards admitted.

“Let’s have it right, Tottenham are a brilliant team, fantastic manager and really good players but to lose so late from our own attacking set-piece is difficult to take.

“For us to be pushing and to concede the way we did is difficult.”

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