Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tired Tottenham Relieved to Earn Themselves a Meaningless Last Game of the Season

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tired Tottenham Relieved to Earn Themselves a Meaningless Last Game of the Season

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Hunn

Tottenham 1 Kane 50 Newcastle 0 IN the end, Tottenham limped over the finish line, emotionally and physically drained but triumphant. The visit of Newcastle was supposed to be the first of two must-win home games this week but Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Huddersfield ensured Sunday's match against Leicester is meaningless for Spurs.

On last night's evidence, they might not have had anything left in the tank if the race for a top-four place had gone to the wire. As it was, the 1-0 win, sealed by Harry Kane's goal, ensured Spurs will play a third successive season of Champions League football and finish as the top club in London for the first time in 23 years.

The biggest roar came around seven minutes from time when news of the result in the kick-off at Stamford Bridge filtered through to Wembley. A patchedup Spurs, who finished with Moussa Sissoko and left-back Danny Rose in central midfield, hobbled through the closing stages and relief was the overwhelming emotion at full-time.

It has been a troubled few weeks for Tottenham since they beat Chelsea on April Fool's Day to open up an eight-point gap over their rivals. Off the pitch, news of a pay rise for chairman Daniel Levy caused unwanted headlines, while talisman Kane, who scored his 28th League goal of the season, was hurt by jibes from fans and professionals about his part in Spurs' second goal in the win at Stoke and a poor taste tweet from the FA.

Another heavy defeat to Manchester City laid bare the chasm between Spurs and the champions, before the crushing FA Cup semi-final loss, which extended the club's trophy drought to a decade and left manager Mauricio Pochettino questioning his long-term future. Last Saturday's defeat to West Brom left Spurs just two points ahead of Chelsea and fearing another collapse. But Spurs' stuttering finish to the campaign should not detract from what is a considerable achievement from the club. If they do muster the reserves to beat Leicester -- 3-1 winners against Arsenal last night -- they will secure a third consecutive top-three finish -- consistency that no other club can match over the same period. …

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