Times are changing in London. Tottenham came from behind for a 4-1 victory over Southampton in a match that shows how Spurs’ mentality has changed under manager Antonio Conte. In the past if they conceded a weird goal within 15 minutes, they would go belly up. Instead, they scored four without Harry Kane or Heung-Min Son hitting the back of the net. James Ward Prowse had the opener for Southampton while Ryan Sessegnon, Eric Dier, Dejan Kulusevski, and a Mohamed Salisu own goal saw Spurs run up the score.
Ralph Hasenhüttl had three debutants in the match in new keeper Gavin Bazunu, 18-year-old Romeo Lavia, and Joe Aribo. They’ve been part of the Southampton youth movement this summer and their energy got the Saints off to a good start. They were pressing out of the gate and Moussa Djenepo created the chance for Ward-Prowse’s opener. Little did Hasenhüttl know that the goal would be the last of the joy for the away side.
The only more Conte goal than Sessegnon’s opening goal from close range would have been if it was assisted by the other fullback Emerson Royal. Instead, it was a cross from Dejan Kulusevski to Sessegnon arriving at the back post which brought Spurs level before going ahead only ten minutes later. The goal gave the team believe that they could play through Southampton and Son drew a corner that led to the second goal. He found a diving Eric Dier for the finish — his first goal for the club in three years — but it was the ability of the team to keep the play alive that was particularly impressive.
The second half was the Emerson Royal show as he forced Salisu into an own goal before assisting Kulusevski as he continued his impressive day.
Conte was able to flex his impressive depth with Ivan Perisic, Clement Lenglet, and Yves Bissouma all getting debuts from the bench after no new starters appeared in the starting 11. It not only shows the new signings that they need to work if they want to start matches but it also displays Conte’s trust in his full squad as he’ll need all of them to compete on multiple fronts this season.
Four goals with Kane and Son only combining for an assist shows that this team has come a long way since Pep Guardiola labeled them as the “Harry Kane team” back in 2017. This is now Conte’s squad and his fingerprints can be found all over it. From orchestrated passing plays, to gritty comebacks, there’s a reason why there’s so much optimism around Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
With Richarlison‘s suspension now completed, the squad will only get deeper heading into a tie at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea next weekend. They will be another test for Conte to pit his team against a top side, but it certainly helps that they passed the pre-test with flying colors.