5 talking points from Tottenham's 3-0 FA Cup triumph over Fulham

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In pictures: Sunday's FA Cup action
Celebrations: Kane with the Spurs fans

1. Mauricio Pochettino takes no chances

Having picked virtually a full-strength team against Gent on Thursday night, it seemed reasonable to predict that Spurs’ manager would make a number of changes at Craven Cottage today, freshening up his side while taking the opportunity to have another look at some of his reserve players with a view to the summer transfer window.

However, he picked a surprisingly strong line-up for the second match in a row, retaining six members of Thursday’s line-up – including Harry Kane, who had suffered a blow to the knee in Belgium three days earlier.

While there were five changes, three of the incoming players would arguably get into Spurs’ strongest XI at the moment – Christian Eriksen, Heung-Min Son and the returning Jan Vertonghen, who made a welcome comeback from injury and lined up alongside Toby Alderweireld to reunite the Lilywhites’ best centre-back pairing.

Deputy defenders Kevin Wimmer and Cameron Carter-Vickers had started all of the previous domestic cup ties this season, but they were left on the bench, along with Josh Onomah and Vincent Janssen – and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou was left out of the squad altogether.

[READ MORE: Lincoln shock Burnley to make FA Cup quarter-finals]

All five players would probably have hoped to start this match, but the message seems clear: Pochettino is done with handing out undeserved opportunities to underperforming squad men, and does not even trust some of them to start against a Championship side.

After the back-to-back defeats against Liverpool and Gent, he was taking no chances this afternoon and was determined to regain some confidence and momentum.

2. Tottenham make a much brighter start this time

Pochettino’s team selection was rewarded as his players put some recent slow starts behind them and came roaring out of the blocks.

The theme for the match was established early on as the excellent Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli both went close in the opening five minutes – and the visitors took the lead in the 16th minute as Eriksen crossed for Kane.

[READ MORE: ‘Crisis talks’ meetings helped Pochettino get Spurs back to their best]

It helped Tottenham’s players to relax and they began to enjoy themselves far more than they have done in recent weeks. The only frustration was that they were unable to extend their lead in a first half where they had 11 shots, but only three on target.

Indeed, Fulham had the final two chances before the interval, providing a timely reminder that the tie was by no means won as Pochettino prepared for his team talk.

Nonetheless, the Argentinian will be looking for more first-half displays like this.

[READ MORE: Fulham 0 Tottenham 3 – Harry Kane puts Fulham to the sword]

3. A good day for the two Harrys

It has been a frustrating spell for Kane, whose only goal in his previous five games was a penalty against Middlesbrough. A dip in Spurs’ creativity has left him on the fringes, struggling to get involved.

Today’s hat-trick was just what he needed and, after initially looking a little sluggish and failing to capitalise on some promising situations – especially when Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli passed the ball straight to him – he looked sharper and sharper as the game went on. There was little doubt about the outcome when he ran through on goal to score his third.

Meanwhile, Harry Winks was at the heart of everything for the visitors, keeping them on the front foot throughout with his quick passing, darting runs and tackling.

Mousa Dembele remains a key player for Spurs but the game was already won when he entered the fray late in the second half.

Given the experiment of having Winks, Dembele and Victor Wanyama in the same side did not work against Gent, an interesting battle might now develop between Dembele and Winks, who is looking like a very viable alternative.

It is healthy competition, and just what Spurs need in the remaining months of the season.

4. Kieran Trippier continues his improvement

Spurs’ second-choice right-back was one of only two reserve players who got a chance at Craven Cottage, along with Michel Vorm, and he justified his selection again.

Trippier has not always impressed and he did not get a game for over a month following the 2-1 Champions League defeat in Monaco in November.

However, there have been noticeable signs of progress in 2017, ever since his two eye-catching assists in the 4-1 victory at Watford on New Year’s Day.

The 26-year-old put in strong performances against Aston Villa and Wycombe Wanderers in the earlier rounds of the FA Cup, and he looked confident from the start against Fulham today, barking out instructions to senior colleagues such as Alderweireld.

He made some useful early defensive contributions and then got onto the front foot, frequently finding space down the right side and constantly demanding the ball.

While some of Trippier’s crosses were disappointing, he linked up well with Eriksen, who had clearly benefited from his rest against Gent, when he only played for the final 10 minutes. Indeed, the pair combined to set up the opening two goals.

Firstly, Trippier hurled a quick throw-in down the line to Eriksen, who laid the ball on a plate for Kane – and then, five minutes after the interval, Trippier found space and gave the ball to his Danish colleague, who delivered another inviting cross for Tottenham’s striker.

[AS IT HAPPENED: Fulham 0 Tottenham 3]

The full-back’s final contribution was to send in a fine cross to the back post, where Son headed wastefully over the bar.

Greater tests lie ahead for Trippier but, unlike a number of Spurs’ squad men, it looks likely that he will get them as Spurs seek success on three fronts.

5. Spurs are into the quarter-finals – and they’re on their way to Wembley this week…

This was a masterclass in how to get through a tricky FA Cup tie at this stage of the competition – go with a strong side, get the job done and then make changes.

Spurs went into this match in relatively poor form, having lost two games in a row, only scored one goal in four games (that being a penalty) and with their much-vaunted defence looking vulnerable.

They have left Craven Cottage, however, with three goals, a clean sheet and a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

“Spurs are on their way to Wembley”, goes the song – and in fact they are heading there on Thursday for the second leg of their last-32 Europa League tie against Gent.

Another success in that game will ensure that Tottenham’s recent troubles are well and truly forgotten.

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs and visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BenPearceSpurs/