Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 25 April 2019

Home comforts for Tottenham as Lucas Moura hat-trick sinks sorry Huddersfield

Brazilian strikes in 27th, 87th and 93rd minutes after Victor Wanyama opened scoring at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

There's no place like home. Home is the best of all places.

The line from John Howard Payne's classic Home! Sweet Home! couldn't be more apt for a Tottenham Hotspur side who have hit their straps since ditching Wembley to return to their home most fans still passionately refer to as White Hart Lane.

Already-relegated Huddersfield Town were the latest team vanquished on Saturday, with Lucas Moura netting a hat-trick after Victor Wanyama had opened the scoring.

Before the move to the new stadium Spurs were in the worst run of form during Mauricio Pochettino's almost five years in charge. With three wins in the past 10 days Spurs firmly have their feet under the table at their new 62,062-seater pad.

Pochettino made six changes to the side that beat Manchester City 1-0 in the first leg of their Uefa Champions League quarter-final. Three were enforced; Harry Kane (ankle), Dele Alli (hand) and Harry Winks (groin) were ruled out by injury while Son Heung-min, the hero of that win over City last Tuesday, was named among the substitutes.

It didn't take long for Spurs to hit their stride. Fernando Llorente used his considerable bulk to shield Jon Gorenc Stankovic from intercepting Ben Davies' ball into the Spaniard's feet. The loose ball ran through for Wanyama to round Ben Hamer in the Huddersfield goal and slot into an empty net.

The Kenyan's goal came on 24 minutes. Three minutes later the game was over as a meaningful contest.

Erik Durm was caught in possession and when Juan Foyth passed inside to Moussa Sissoko the Spurs midfielder was given half of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium's immaculate new lawn to stroll into before picking out Moura's run. The Brazilian drilled his shot across Hamer and from then on the result was never in doubt.

Though Llorente was given the central striker's berth, it is Moura who perhaps stands to be the main beneficiary of Kane's latest absence during the run-in.

Llorente has tended to be overlooked by his manager during the Spurs captain's prolonged spells on the sidelines with Moura preferred for his pace and guile. He staked his claim to start the return leg against Manchester City on Wednesday with two further second-half strikes.

"That's my job, to help my team and score some goals because a striker needs to score," the Brazilian said. "I practice all the time and I'm so happy today because I did very well, good passes, good finishes and if we play like this as a team we can win a lot of things."

Though Huddersfield offered virtually nothing as an attacking threat for the first 70 minutes, the introduction of Steve Mounie and Aaron Mooy from the bench at least added some impetus to the visitors' play.

Hugo Lloris was called upon to push Juninho Bacuna's free kick on to his crossbar but the more adventurous Hudderfield became the more inevitable it seemed Spurs would exploit gaps at the back.

Two counter-attacks in the final five minutes resulted in Moura tucking away a Christian Eriksen cross before hammering home a through ball from substitute Son in an almost carbon copy of the Brazilian's first strike to bring up 10 Premier League goals for the campaign.

"Four goals are too much today. That doesn't reflect how we played," lamented Town manager Jan Siewart.

Moura acknowledged tougher tests than Huddersfield, who have lost their last four matches against Spurs by an aggregate of 12-0, await. "Now we have a good battle in Manchester. It will be so hard there but if we play like we did today we can go there and get a good result and we can qualify."

Victory moved Spurs back up to third and their hopes of a top-four finish are further boosted by a favourable run-in. They face Pep Guardiola's side in the league three days after Wednesday's quarter-final second leg but then play three of their remaining four games at home. All are infinitely winnable.

As the song goes, be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

Updated: April 13, 2019 09:45 PM

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