Mauricio Pochettino was pleased as punch with his Tottenham Hotspur players, as they eased into the next round of the Europa League.
Spurs continue impressive European form
Having scored a vital away goal in the first leg last week in Florence, Tottenham knew a clean sheet would seal safe passage into the next round of Europe’s second competition, and they got it, beating Fiorentina 3-0.
The contest took its time to really get going, with tackles flying in from both sides in the opening 20 minutes. With little chances of note early on, Tottenham seized the advantage when Ryan Mason latched on to a Dele Alli touch to expertly score his second goal of the season against Ciprian Tătăruşanu in the Fiorentina goal.
With the hosts defending expertly throughout the match, home goalkeeper and club captain Hugo Lloris was largely a passenger as his side went in ahead at the break.
Former West Ham United striker Mauro Zárate hoped to make the difference for the side from Florence but saw his new side go further behind just minutes after his introduction.
Good work by Nacer Chadli down the left wing eventually saw the ball fall to Érik Lamela in the six yard box, and the former AS Roma man managed to beat Tătăruşanu, the current Romanian player of the year, with a fine curling effort on the turn.
As the Viola committed more men forward in the search for a vital away goal of their own, Tottenham sealed the victory when Kieran Trippier fizzed a cross in from the right wing which Fiorentina captain Gonzalo Rodríguez diverted off the bar and into his own net.
Pochettino hails "a fantastic job"
Tottenham boss Pochettino was left understandably delighted with the ease at which his side swept past a full strength Fiorentina team currently third in Italy’s Serie A.
The Argentine was “very proud of the team” and the “performance” of his youthful, energetic side. Moving his focus quickly on to this weekend’s game against Swansea City at White Hart Lane, Pochettino claimed it was simply “job done” following a disappointing FA Cup exit last time out.
On the return to fitness, and the scoresheet, of Mason, Pochettino expressed his delight at the return of the England international ahead of a busy few weeks. The former Southampton boss claimed Mason is a “great pro” and “a very important player” for his boyhood side.
Mason buzzing after European delight
Mason was keen highlight the European history of Tottenham ahead of a potential run into the latter stages of this seasons competition. The central midfielder noted the “great European history at the club” and claimed there was a “different feeling” when European football comes to town.
After scoring his first European goal, Mason said all his teammates were “buzzing” following a more comfortable passage into the final 16 than many had expected when the draw was made.
Tottenham and France captain Lloris chose to focus on the “character and maturity” of the North Londoners ahead of a potential next round contest against European giants Borussia Dortmund or current Europa League holders Sevilla.
Having fallen at this hurdle, to the same opposition, last year, Lloris claimed the Italian side are “better this year than last year” but Tottenham have also “got a lot better individually and as a team”.
All eyes on Zurich
Ahead of a busy Friday in the Swiss city of Zurich, which will reveal the next FIFA president as well as the round of 16 Europa League ties, Tottenham will be hoping to once again go under the radar as they continue to strengthen their pursuit of both domestic and European trophies this season.