If Tottenham fans were wondering where the goals were going to come from after last month’s departure of Harry Kane, they may now have their answer.
Spurs recovered from an early Lyle Foster opener to thump Burnley 5-2 at Turf Moor – a victory down in large part to a lethal display of finishing from captain Son Heung-min.
It was the South Korean’s fourth Premier League treble – his fifth overall – and his first since Spurs’ 6-2 victory over Leicester in September last year.
Son had failed to find the net in Tottenham’s opening three league games of the campaign, but his ruthless performance against Vincent Kompany’s side suggests the forward’s goalscoring instincts remain firmly intact after an underwhelming 2022-23 season.
“It’s a very special moment because it’s not easy, scoring three goals in the Premier League,” Son told BBC Match of the Day after the game. “I’m very happy to get three points in a difficult place.”
“Sonny was outstanding,” manager Ange Postecoglou added of his skipper. “He led our press today – then he had the quality to take his chances.
“I’m really pleased for him.”
Leading from the front
As Postecoglou alluded to in his post-match debrief, there was more to Son’s prolific display than just his goals.
Spearheading Tottenham’s high press, the 31-year-old recorded more sprints than any of his Spurs colleagues (27), while only Dejan Kulusevski and Destiny Udogie registered more intensive runs than the frontman (288).
He also applied more pressures (49) than any other player on the pitch, with 11 of those resulting in turnovers in possession.
Son, as is his style, was in modest mood after the game, complimenting his team-mates and expressing his frustration at Spurs’ slow start to the contest.
“Away from home we can’t concede a goal [inside] ten minutes, but the way we responded was fantastic,” he said. “Everyone was involved.
“We want to have the ball, everyone was moving in the right direction. It looked like we had a lot of space but we were creating the space.
“I’m the captain but I have great players around me. They help a lot – my job is really easy.”
Son’s hat-trick was his first since Tottenham’s 6-2 win at home to Leicester last season
Feelgood factor back at Spurs
It was by no means false modesty from Son, who was not the only Spurs player to catch the eye at Turf Moor.
Twenty-year-old Udogie was outstanding yet again at left-back, recovering the ball in the build-up to several goals and setting up James Maddison’s magnificent third.
Maddison, arguably Spurs’ standout performer so far this term, forced a fine save out of James Trafford before beating the Burnley goalkeeper with his curling finish, while Yves Bissouma and Manor Solomon impressed too.
Yet the aforementioned quartet and their team-mates could hardly wish for a better captain in Son, who leads by example on and off the pitch.
“He’s been an outstanding leader, with the way he presents himself every day in training,” Postecoglou continued.
“He’s got all the characteristics. He can play in any system, but the way we play he’s ideal.”
Postecoglou’s fast, attacking style is certainly bearing fruit so far, helping rediscover a feelgood factor that had ebbed away under previous managers Nuno Espirito Santo, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.
“There’s a lot of pressure playing in a Premier League team,” added Son. “But sometimes you forget how important happiness is, that you enjoy your football.”
“I try to be an example, try to smile and take responsibility on and off the pitch.
“But we still want to move forward and try to improve.”