LEICESTER: Son Heung-min and Dele Alli gave Tottenham a 2-0 victory at Leicester City on Saturday as Mauricio Pochettino’s gamble in resting Harry Kane paid off handsomely.
The Spurs manager left Kane on the substitutes’ bench as he planned ahead for Tuesday’s vital Champions League game in Barcelona.
And while his side lacked a little of their normal spark without their attacking spearhead, they had enough to see off the disappointing Foxes with relative ease.
Son opened the scoring at the end of a dismal first half with a left-footed rocket from the edge of the penalty area before crossing for Alli to head home the second after half-time.
Kane and Christian Eriksen were wrapped in cotton wool with Spurs needing to inflict a rare home defeat on Barca in midweek to guarantee progress to the last 16.
The England captain came off the bench for a 16-minute cameo to tune up for the midweek assignment, but by then Son and Alli had inflicted the blows that took Tottenham back above Chelsea and Arsenal into third in the table and within six points of leaders Liverpool.
While Champions League qualification is the next significant item on Spurs’ agenda, victory in the East Midlands combined with Manchester City’s defeat at Chelsea will increase hopes that Pochettino’s men could still mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title.
To do so, the Argentinian will need his squad and they proved that, while Kane remains their most valuable figure, they can pick up points with him in a support role.
Leicester were made to pay when they switched off at the end of a poor first 45 minutes.
Son cut in from the left and ran across the edge of the 18-yard box with Nampalys Mendy failing to close him down, although his bending, left-footed finish past a helpless Kasper Schmeichel and into the top corner was still a strike to admire.
Wes Morgan’s timely block early in the second half denied the South Korean a second goal from an inviting cross by Alli.
But moments later the pair reversed roles to finish off a ruthless counter-attack with Son crossing from the left and Alli staying onside to head home at the far post.