Lucas Moura strikes to send Tottenham through and add to Burnley misery
Tottenham are into the next round and will not care how they spluttered against the equally misfiring Burnley. In a tie where classy moments were scarce the winner came from a sole sparkling sequence that had Emerson Royal roving along the right-back’s flank before his delivery was met by Lucas Moura’s cool header.
On this showing Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Manchester United would seem to have an ideal opponent on Saturday against whom to arrest their dire form, though Tottenham were only at half-strength.
For Burnley this outing was the story of their campaign: disappointing and offering little optimism they can transform their play into what they need to start doing soon with regularity – be victorious. Burnley’s sole win in their 12 matches remains the previous round’s 4-1 knockout of Rochdale.
Sean Dyche said: “It’s hard to fault them at the minute. There are a lot of things they are doing right. We’ve got to turn the corner. It’s frustrating for me to keep saying it, but we’re not far away. They are doing everything to make it happen.”
Harry Kane, Cristian Romero, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Oliver Skipp and Emerson Royal were a first‑choice quintet retained by Nuno Espírito Santo from the defeat at West Ham on Sunday but Harry Winks and Dele Alli were left out completely.
Tottenham’s manager was asked if the latter pair will feature when United visit. “They are our players so anything is possible,” he said. “This is my answer. We continue to focus on getting the best out of each of our players. Dele is one of the cases we have to try and improve.”
Spurs were pinned back for the majority of the opening period: possession was scant and their ideas with it even less. Steven Bergwijn certainly had the right intent when Emerson swung the ball over from the right but the forward’s volley became an embarrassing miskick, to the delight of the Burnley faithful.
Still, Bryan Gil had been forced off with what appeared a muscular problem and his replacement, Lucas Moura, infused required pace into Tottenham as one burst through the centre illustrated. Missing, though, was simple quality.
When Højbjerg tried to dazzle with footwork but ran the ball straight out this was his team and a below-par first half in microcosm. The sides were soporific and thus any error might be the only way the deadlock would be broken. Kane supplied one of these yet in falling backwards and spraying an effort skywards it was the wrong type.
A quarter-final berth beckoned for the team who moved into any sort of gear. After the interval Spurs did so, at last moving the ball quickly forward as Moura and Kane tried – unsuccessfully – to sneak behind Ben Mee and the rest of the captain’s rearguard. This sparked Burnley. Erik Pieters floated the ball to Johann Berg Gudmundsson, whose header to Matej Vydra should have been finished but Spurs escaped.
As the hour mark approached it was difficult to remember if either Nick Pope or Pierluigi Gollini had made a save, so lacking in edge was the action. A hardly packed Turf Moor raised the volume to inspire greater fare and when Kane fed Giovani Lo Celso his stabbed attempt at last had Pope needing his reflexes to repel.
Now Nuno sent on Son Heung-min and Tanguy Ndombele for Bergwijn and Skipp – a proactive move – and Spurs scored, Moura beating Pope. Burnley rallied and Maxwel Cornet saw a cross kicked away by Davinson Sánchez. But Tottenham ended far happier at the final whistle.