9 August 2014 20:25
Mauricio Pochettino enjoyed a winning introduction to White Hart Lane as Tottenham rounded off their pre-season with a 2-1 win over Schalke.
Having taken in trips to the United States and Finland during pre-season, Spurs were in good form back on familiar ground with Eric Dier and Ben Davies also making their home bows.
The hosts enjoyed the lion’s share of the first half’s chances, Aaron Lennon and Lewis Holtby going close before Emmanuel Adebayor put them ahead just before the half-hour.
Roberto Soldado doubled Tottenham’s advantage in unorthodox fashion after the break, the attacking successes undoubtedly pleasing Pochettino ahead of Spurs’ Premier League opener against West Ham next week.
Despite Kevin-Prince Boateng’s late strike, Tottenham end pre-season unbeaten and in good form, with the potential arrivals of Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay sure to encourage the club’s supporters as they look to crack England’s top four again this term.
Neither side threatened in a cagey opening quarter of an hour, but the hosts eventually took control, though Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann was on hand to smother Lennon’s dangerous run and somehow denied Holtby from 12 yards as his defenders appealed in vain for offside.
The Premier League outfit eventually found the breakthrough as Erik Lamela, Lennon and Holtby combined fluently on the edge of the box before the latter picked out Adebayor at the far post – the Togo man taking a touch onto his left foot before rifling high into the net.
The goal shook Schalke into life and Roman Neustadter wasted a free header, missing the target, before former Spurs midfielder Boateng found space in the area, only for Danny Rose to nip in and deny him.
Lamela, Rose, Adebayor and Lennon were withdrawn by Pochettino at the break, with Soldado among the replacements despite rumours of an imminent move to Atletico Madrid persisting.
The Spaniard had a gilt-edged chance to double Spurs’ lead eight minutes into the half, but lifted his effort over from Holtby’s centre.
Fellow substitute Harry Kane saw a good penalty shout waved away, while Andros Townsend could only scuff wide when released one-on-one.
However, Soldado got on the scoresheet in the 66th minute, reacting sharply to loop a header over Fahrmann after the keeper had palmed Townsend’s fierce drive into the air.
Christian Clemens gave Max Meyer a clear sight of goal soon after, but the teenage playmaker could not test Hugo Lloris, who was also able to watch Christian Fuchs’ fierce long-ranger sail wide.
The Frenchman was eventually beaten with 10 minutes to go, Boateng finishing well from Dennis Aogo’s cut-back, but it was not enough to spoil Pochettino’s welcome party, with a late miss from another replacement, Cristian Ceballos, proving an irrelevance.