Monday, October 3, 2022

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‘I’m glad he’s finally home’: Son relieved to end goal drought

A frustrated Son Heung-min was happy to respond to his retirement with a sensational hat-trick to help Tottenham beat Leicester 6-2.

Last season’s co-top scorer in the Premier League had started the campaign without a goal in his first eight appearances in all competitions and it saw him named as a substitute for the struggling Foxes’ visit.

After watching Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Rodrigo Bentancur net for the first 47 minutes, Son was lucky enough to get in on the act and responded with two superb strikes before completing his hat trick late when VAR decided that he was part of it.

“It was a top performance and I was also very frustrated,” he told Sky Sports.

“The way I play, I can do a lot better than I have been. I was disappointed, the team did really well but I was disappointed with my performance.

“My finishes have been poor this season. I was also a bit unlucky with an own goal, two offside goals and a strike on the crossbar. I knew goals were coming and I wasn’t worried.

“I’m really happy that the ball is finally in! I was pretty sure I was in for the hat trick. I am happy to have been able to help the team, it is very important and I can return to the national team with renewed energy.

“I get emotional to be honest. There was incredible support and I always felt like I disappointed my teammates and my fans with my performances. They have always supported me. »

Conte had hinted during his pre-match press conference that Son might be dropped, citing that he and Kane would be “shot” at some point.

The Italian was happy to see it paying off after Son came home in the 73rd minute from outside the box to end his drought in style.

But it was better to come with a superb left-footed strike to make it 5-2 before the hat-trick was confirmed – albeit after a VAR check – with four minutes to play when Son got past Danny Ward.

“Over the next 12 games we rotate and we rotate the way I think this moment is good,” Conte explained.

“Every decision I’m going to make is always an honest decision because I want to win, try to put my players in the best physical condition to give the best performance for the team.

“Of course to see Sonny with the ball after the hat-trick and then also the player of the game trophy was great. It was amazing for me, for the team-mates because we needed it.

“We, not just Sonny, needed this. I am happy but I repeat that it is not a problem. If we solve the problem in this way, we will definitely have to repeat the situation in the next game with all players.

“I think in the future all the players will ask me ‘please, please, please put me on the bench’, then they come in and score three goals, but of course I’m kidding.”

Leicester scored five goals at Brighton a fortnight ago but under-fire manager Brendan Rodgers insisted he was still confident of overturning their disastrous start to the new season.

He added: “It’s a challenge I’m going to take on because I’ve never had this spell before in my career. It’s definitely something I want to continue.

“There is no doubt that we had a difficult start in the first seven games. We had Tottenham away, Arsenal away, Chelsea away. Manchester United at home and a few others we should win.

“It’s probably a good time for us to reset everything and also break the summer cycle.

“The owners, they will do what they think they have to do. I’m not stupid. I know football.

“The last six games, losing doesn’t make for a good read, but I have every confidence the team can carry on and if they play like they have for big games, weed out the mistakes, then they can climb the rankings.”

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