Harry Kane scored a brace as Tottenham returned to winning ways with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Saturday.
The England captain struck twice in the first half to put the home side in control at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, finally ending a three-game winless run in all competitions.
Kane’s well-played header and routine penalty were added to in the second half, Son Heung-min ensuring there was no Forest comeback despite Joe Worrall’s consolation and a late spot-kick saved.
The result, coupled with Liverpool’s surprise defeat by Bournemouth on Saturday, moved Spurs six points clear in the race for Champions League qualification.
Spurs thought they were ahead inside five minutes when Richarlison latched on to Oliver Skipp’s ball and fired a fierce effort past Keylor Navas but it was disallowed for offside against the Brazilian.
But that didn’t deter the hosts when, in the 19th minute, Kane lifted Pedro Porro’s headed cross into the right corner of the goal.
Kane doubled his tally before the break with his first penalty since missing against France in the World Cup quarter-finals, converting after Forest captain Worrall had fouled Richarlison.
Spurs’ attack on the Forest goal continued in the second half, with Son receiving a cross from Richarlison and drilling into the bottom left corner.
Worrall was able to pull one back and head Felipe’s corner past Fraser Forster.
But it was as good as it got for Forest, Andre Ayew saw his late penalty saved by Dejan Kulusevski’s right hand shot by Forster.
Tottenham player ratings (3-4-3)
GK: Fraser Forster – 7/10 – Didn’t have a lot to do, but distributed the ball well and made saves when called upon.
CB: Cristian Romero – 8/10 – Much, much calmer today than he was on Wednesday night. Spurs defend with so much confidence when he’s tame.
CB: Eric Dier – 7/10 – Largely fine and organised the backline, though was made to look a fool by Lingard and Ayew on a couple of occasions.
CB: Clement Lenglet – 6/10 – Glided into midfield and down the wing at will.
RM: Pedro Porro – 8/10 – Technically excellent and a constant threat when in possession. Had a hand in all three goals.
CM: Oliver Skipp – 7/10 – Lunged into challenges and made his presence known in the midfield battle. Played some excellent cross-field passes.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 6/10 – An almost identical game to his midfield partner but to a slightly lower standard.
LM: Ben Davies – 6/10 – Didn’t offer too much on the ball but stretched play and had a huge hand in the opening goal.
RF: Richarlison – 9/10 – Conte wanted a response off his Brazilian number nine and he sure got one. Ever so cruelly denied a first Premier League goal but was otherwise the protagonist of a happy day for Tottenham.
LF: Son Heung-min – 8/10 – Largely an off-ball presence, darting in behind former teammate Aurier and eventually being found by Richarlison.
CF: Harry Kane – 9/10 – Two goals and bent Forest effortlessly when dropping into midfield to free up his forward co-stars.
Dejan Kulusevski (84′ for Richarlison) – N/A
Lucas Moura (84′ for Son) – N/A
Pape Sarr (90′ for Skipp) – N/A
Antonio Conte – 8/10 – Far, far more animated on the touchline than in recent months.