The Warmdown: Spurs edge one step closer to silverware
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23: Ben Davies (c) of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with team mates (l - r) Erik Lamela, Harry Winks and Heung-Min Son after scoring their sides second goal as Tommy Smith of Stoke City looks dejected during the Carabao Cup Quarter Final match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur at Bet365 Stadium on December 23, 2020 in Stoke on Trent, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur progressed to the Semi-Finals in the League Cup after recording a 3-1 victory at the Bet 365 Stadium on a cold, wet and windy night in Stoke.

Goals from Gareth Bale and Harry Kane either side of a Ben Davies screamer were enough for Jose Mourinho's men, as they continue their quest for silverware. 

In what was a dominant display, Spurs controlled the game professionally, although the potential of an upset threatened when Jordan Thompson equalised for Stoke City.

However, Tottenham did not let their heads drop and cave under pressure, as they may have done in previous years.

They replied with more grit and determination, restoring their lead deservedly through Davies' 25 yard drive, before making sure of the win late on thanks to yet another Kane goal.

  • Harry Winks wins Man of the Match

A big factor in the control that Tottenham had over the game can be attributed to the return of midfielder Harry Winks, the Englishman was the provider for Bale's opener with a good cross in the first-half.

Having not started a league game since late September against Newcastle, Winks will be desperate to force his way back into the set up.

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Mourinho will be proud of his display last night, the midfielder was very tidy on the ball, he is perhaps the most comfortable holding midfielder in the squad when being pressed.

The assist will have pleased Winks, being his first for Spurs since 2017, it serves as a timely reminder for a dimension in his game that he can improve.

His post-match interview was also positive, praising Tottenham's mentality in the display, showcasing his maturity and also setting his sights on success in the competition.

  • Dele criticised despite impressing

Being increasingly out of favour, Dele Alli has had a difficult start to the campaign under Jose, it was a rare opportunity for him in the starting lineup.

The attacking-midfielder was influential in the first-half, using his flair to try to make things happen and create chances, he looked lively and came close to scoring, forcing the keeper into a good save.

He was substituted in the 66th minute after trying a flick, the ball was turned-over well by The Potters, with the counter-attack leading to Thompson's equaliser.

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Jose Mourinho was disappointed with the passage of play and hauled Dele off in the 66th minute, despite the midfielders positive contributions. 

Dele was visibly frustrated at the substitution, and rightly so some might argue, kicking the water bottle stand after being replaced before taking his place in the stand.

In the post-match press conference, Mourinho went on to say "For me, a player that plays in that position is a player that has to link and has to create and to not create problems for his own team." 

Supporters deemed Mourinho's comments harsh, with Dele winning man of the match on the Spurs' twitter poll, testament to how they feel about him, in a difficult period for the England international.

  • Opportunity for an early trophy

The League Cup final is scheduled for April, usually taking place in February, in a bid to be able to invite more supporters to the Wembley showcase amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

It is a competition Mourinho has fared well in and obviously values, using it to give his players momentum ahead of the second-half of the season, when he pushes for the bigger prizes.

Tottenham are desperate for a trophy, yet to lift silverware since 2008, when Juande Ramos won this very competition, they will be looking to go another step further than the 18/19 defeat to Chelsea.

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They managed to get the best draw on paper, drawing Championship side Brentford at home, a tie they will be confident going into.

Semi-finals in the Carabao Cup have usually been played over two legs, however, they will be over one leg this season in a bid to reduce fixture congestion.

If they manage to progress, the prospect of a mouthwatering clash against either Manchester City or Manchester United awaits at Wembley, teams they have already managed to beat convincingly this season.