Three first half goals ensured we ended the 2013-14 campaign in fine style with three points and a comfortable victory over Aston Villa.
A 15th-minute opener from Paulinho was added to by a Nathan Baker own goal, before Emmanuel Adebayor netted from the penalty spot as we secured our 21st win of the season – equalling our Premier League best – and booked our berth in next season’s Europa League with our sixth-place finish.
Head Coach Tim Sherwood made two changes from the defeat at West Ham United last weekend, Vlad Chiriches replacing the suspended Younes Kaboul while Sandro came in for Aaron Lennon.
We were on the front foot right from the first whistle and took just six minutes to test Brad Guzan in the Villa goal, Emmanuel Adebayor clipping over a cross which Harry Kane headed straight at the USA goalkeeper.
And the front pair linked up again five minutes later when Adebayor held up the ball on the right hand edge of the area, before laying it neatly into Kane just six yards out, but Guzan was there again to block his effort.
Our bright start was rewarded on 15 minutes though following some intricate build-up play. Christian Eriksen played a ball into Paulinho 25 yards out, he flicked off to Sigurdsson and continued his run into the area which Sigurdsson found and although Guzan saved his first effort, Paulinho stroked home the rebound into an empty net.
Within a couple of minutes, Paulinho was through on goal again after being found by Kyle Naughton but this time he fired well wide, while Villa’s first sight of goal came on 23 minutes when Andreas Weimann flicked on a corner but Gabby Agbonlahor headed over from eight yards.
We doubled our lead on 35 minutes when Baker put through his own net. Eriksen worked his way to the byline and although his cross was blocked, Danny Rose picked up the loose ball and fizzed in another centre, the ball hitting Baker and flying past Guzan.
Once again we were on the attack swiftly after the goal, this time leading to another score. Harry Kane’s shot was blocked by Fabian Delph for a corner, which was taken short by Eriksen to Sandro. The Brazilian let fly from 30 yards, the ball hit the arm of Agbonlahor and referee Jonathan Moss pointed to the spot. Adebayor calmly beat Guzan with a drive straight down the middle from 12 yards.
It was almost 4-0 on the stroke of half-time when Sandro lofted over a cross from a cleared corner which was met powerfully by Michael Dawson, looking for his first of the season, but Guzan tipped it away diving to his left.
There was much more subdued opening to the second period, with neither side threatening the target until the 57th minute when Agbonlahor headed a long ball into the path of Delph, who took a touch and fired just wide of Hugo Lloris’ far post from 20 yards.
Youngster Milos Veljkovic entered the fray just after the hour mark in place of Sandro, giving him his second taste of Premier League football as we continued to comfortably control the game. The Serbian was joined in midfield by Nabil Bentaleb for the final 15 minutes and he fired in a rare effort of the second half, although it was well wide and never troubled Guzan.
Delph tested Lloris in the 81st minute with a curling effort which the French stopper dealt with well, before we introduced young midfielder Alex Pritchard into the game, for Gylfi Sigurdsson. It was Pritchard’s Spurs debut and first Premier League appearance, a deserved reward for an excellent campaign on loan with League One side Swindon Town.
In truth, that was just about the highlight of a quiet second half, the game wrapped up in the first period, and we saw out the win with a minimum of fuss to move us on to a final tally of 69 points for the season.
Spurs: Lloris, Naughton, Dawson, Chiriches, Rose, Sandro (Veljkovic 62), Sigurdsson (Pritchard 83), Paulinho (Bentaleb 75), Eriksen, Adebayor, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Friedel, Fryers, Capoue, Soldado.
Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bertrand, Bacuna (Robinson 83), Westwood, Delph, Weimann, Bowery (El Ahmadi 46), Agbonlahor. Substitutes (not used): Steer, Clark, Sylla, Holt, Grealish.
Goals: Spurs – Paulinho 15, Baker og 35, Adebayor pen 38.
Yellows: Spurs – Naughton.
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Venue: White Hart Lane, London
Referee: Mr J Moss