Son welcomes morale booster as Spurs beat Preston
Son Heung-min said he needed his two stunning goals against Preston in order to boost his confidence as he helped Tottenham reach the FA Cup fifth round.
The South Korean won the Premier League Golden Boot with 23 goals last season but has so far struggled to match that form in 2022-23.
The 30-year-old was inspired at Deepdale, belting in a 30-yard strike to break the deadlock on 50 minutes.
“I needed those goals for my confidence,” Son told BBC Sport.
“As a striker or as an attacking player, the important thing is that you get that goal. It’s important that I could help the team go to the next round. I’m very, very happy.”
After his opener Son soon doubled the advantage, turning and finishing smartly amid torrential rain.
Arnaut Danjuma, signed on loan from Villarreal this week, completed the scoring after coming on as a late substitute.
Tottenham assistant manager Cristian Stellini praised Son after the game, saying: “Sonny is a great player.
“He has to wait for the right moment to find the space. He was very focused on the match. He had to wait for a right time to do a good job.”
Antonio Conte’s side go into the draw for the fifth round, which takes place on Monday evening.
Spurs splutter into life at hard-working Preston
Conte made seven changes to the Spurs starting XI which beat Fulham 1-0 in the Premier League on Monday, including leaving Harry Kane on the bench.
Kane is aiming to become Tottenham’s all-time leading scorer and is level with Jimmy Greaves on 266 goals but had been struggling with illness this week, missing training on Wednesday and Thursday.
Alongside him on the bench was new signing Danjuma, but the Spurs side still contained first-teamers such as Son and Dejan Kulusevski – and they started the game on the front foot.
Kulusevski had a shot brilliantly blocked by midfielder Ryan Ledson while home goalkeeper Freddie Woodman made two fine saves from long-range Son efforts.
They had more than three quarters of the possession in the opening 20 minutes, however Preston grew into the game and began to restrict Spurs as the game wore on.
A three-man midfield of Ledson, Ben Whiteman and Ali McCann gave Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma little time or space to create.
Son quality proves the difference
It took until the opening minutes of the second half for Preston’s resolve to be broken, with Son pulling out a moment of quality to remind fans why he was the Premier League Golden Boot winner last season.
His seventh of this campaign was arguably his best, as he found space 30 yards out before curling an unstoppable strike past Woodman.
Preston raised their game after falling behind and gave Tottenham a much tougher test than when they last met – a 5-1 defeat in a 2009 EFL Cup meeting.
However Son killed the game after 69 minutes, spinning off Jordan Storey after receiving an Ivan Perisic pass and firing past Woodman.
Conte was then able to switch up his squad, including giving a debut to Danjuma – while Kane was able to remain an unused sub.
And Danjuma, who signed for Spurs having appeared to be on the verge of joining Everton, scored 15 minutes into his first appearance as he turned in a low Kulusevski cross before celebrating with the away fans.
Stellini added: “We’re looking forward to working with Danjuma. It’s a good start for him. He’s a good guy. He needs time to understand everything but it’s important to start well in this type of competition.”
While Spurs have reached the last 16 of the FA Cup they remain in a fight to reach their Premier League aims, trailing fourth-placed Manchester United by three points. A meeting with Manchester City next weekend could be pivotal for their ambitions.
“When you look at the scoresheet it looks like a comfortable win, but the FA Cup has never been comfortable,” Son added. “We suffered a lot away from home. The lads did an amazing job.
“There’s a lot to talk about our performance, but we were focused and did what we had to do.
“We can still improve so much. I think this game can give us good energy and let’s move on to next weekend.”
Player of the match
Son Heung-minSon Heung-min
Preston North End
Squad number13Player nameMcCann
Squad number9Player nameEvans
Squad number11Player nameBrady
Squad number18Player nameLedson
Squad number14Player nameStorey
Squad number4Player nameWhiteman
Squad number28Player nameCannon
Squad number16Player nameHughes
Squad number6Player nameLindsay
Squad number20Player nameWoodburn
Squad number1Player nameWoodman
Squad number8Player nameBrowne
Squad number10Player nameJohnson
Squad number2Player nameFernández
Squad number29Player nameCross-Adair
- 13McCannSubstituted forJohnsonat 78′minutes
- 18LedsonSubstituted forWoodburnat 70′minutes
- 11BradySubstituted forFernándezat 78′minutes
- 9EvansSubstituted forCross-Adairat 90′minutes
- 28CannonBooked at 61mins
- 6D Sánchez
- 2DohertySubstituted forEmerson Royalat 71′minutes
- 30BentancurSubstituted forSkippat 71′minutes
- 19R SessegnonSubstituted forDanjumaat 71′minutes
- 7Son Heung-minSubstituted forGilat 85′minutes
- 12Emerson Royal
- Peter Bankes
Match ends, Preston North End 0, Tottenham Hotspur 3.
Second Half ends, Preston North End 0, Tottenham Hotspur 3.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Liam Lindsay.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match (Tottenham Hotspur).
Foul by Dejan Kulusevski (Tottenham Hotspur).
Liam Lindsay (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Preston North End. Finlay Cross-Adair replaces Ched Evans.
Emerson Royal (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Andrew Hughes (Preston North End).
Bryan Gil (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ched Evans (Preston North End).
Goal! Preston North End 0, Tottenham Hotspur 3. Arnaut Danjuma (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Dejan Kulusevski.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Bryan Gil replaces Son Heung-Min.
Foul by Japhet Tanganga (Tottenham Hotspur).
Ben Woodburn (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Davinson Sánchez.
Substitution, Preston North End. Daniel Johnson replaces Alistair McCann.
Substitution, Preston North End. Álvaro Fernández replaces Robert Brady.
Foul by Japhet Tanganga (Tottenham Hotspur).
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