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Antonio Conte has taken Tottenham from Spursy to steely and put them in pole position for top four

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Antonio Conte has taken Tottenham from Spursy to steely! His team’s ruthlessness has put them in pole position in the top four race

  • Spurs beat Aston Villa 4-0 in their Premier League clash on Saturday afternoon 
  • Meanwhile, Manchester United and Arsenal both suffered defeats in their games
  • Tottenham have taken the upper hand over Arsenal in the race for the top four 

For all of Antonio Conte’s histrionics, he also brings a steely-eyed ruthlessness to Tottenham’s Champions League charge that is the polar opposite to being ‘Spursy’.

A fourth consecutive win, emphatic in the end after Hugo Lloris’ first-half heroics, has put them in pole position for the top four with rivals Arsenal and Manchester United losing.

That looked impossible when the Italian took over with Spurs in ninth, but there is no victory parade being planned yet with this manager in charge.

Antonio Conte has Tottenham firing and they're now leading the race for the top four

Antonio Conte has Tottenham firing and they’re now leading the race for the top four

‘We need to be ice cold. Ready to go again,’ said Saturday’s hat-trick hero Son Heung-min, who has scored eight goals in his last eight games.

‘I don’t want to feel over the moon. I want to be really cool and calm because there are still a lot of games to play. Next Saturday we start from zero again.

‘We can be better than this but we showed strong personality against Aston Villa. Some teams would have lost in this situation.’

Spurs have found form when it matters and are looking stronger with each game

Spurs have found form when it matters and are looking stronger with each game 

The pragmatism will be welcomed by Tottenham fans aware of their club’s reputation of flattering to deceive.

Though they are three points ahead of Arsenal with a superior goal difference, the Gunners still have a game in hand and next month’s rearranged north London derby is still to come.

Conte is pleased to have the rare luxury of a full week to prepare for Spurs’ next test against Brighton.

‘To have more time to work on tactical aspects is really important,’ he explained. ‘Don’t forget when I arrived in November, I had to bring my idea of football but at the same time play for three points and make sure the players got rest.’

Meanwhile, Manchester United and Arsenal both suffered defeats in their games

Meanwhile, Manchester United and Arsenal both suffered defeats in their games

Though Spurs are three points ahead of Mikel Arteta's side with a superior goal difference, the Gunners still have a game in hand and the rearranged north London derby is still to come

Though Spurs are three points ahead of Mikel Arteta’s side with a superior goal difference, the Gunners still have a game in hand and the rearranged north London derby is still to come 

Unlike his predecessors Jose Mourinho and Nuno Espirito Santo, Conte’s energy and passion have got Tottenham’s big players at it.

Lloris, 35, gave a goalkeeping masterclass with seven excellent saves in the first half, allowing Spurs to lead at the interval through Son’s early strike.

‘He was the boss today,’ smiled Son. ‘He was turning like a Superman, like a cat, saving every single ball. It was insane.’

Lloris got a rest in the second period as Tottenham’s attacking players showed what they could do.

Two outstanding Harry Kane assists set up Dejan Kulusevski and Son before the South Korean completed his treble with a brilliant finish into the corner from Kulusevski’s pass.

While Spurs look forward with optimism, Villa boss Steven Gerrard has to kick his heels for a fortnight — their next scheduled opponents Liverpool play an FA Cup semi-final instead on Saturday — and mull over four defeats in a row.

‘It’s going to be tough. You want another game straight away in our position so it’s going to hurt,’ he acknowledged.

‘At this level we can’t keep giving teams goals that can be avoided. There’s a gap to the teams above us. I thought we looked outstanding at times so that’s a positive but from a defensive point of view, we have a lot to learn.’

There was a further blow for Villa after defender Lucas Digne was taken off with a suspected broken collarbone that could keep him out for the remainder of the season.

HOW ASSIST KING KANE ALWAYS MAKES SON SHINE

Harry Kane has 42 assists in the Premier League — and for half of those his team-mate Son Heung-min has been the beneficiary. He has teed up no other player more than three times…

21 goals: Son Heung-min 

3: Gareth Bale, Erik Lamela

2: Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Lucas Moura

1: Victor Wanyama, Giovani Lo Celso, Nacer Chadli, Matt Doherty, Steven Bergwijn, Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier, Moussa Sissoko, Dejan Kulusevski.

17 – Excluding penalties, Son is the Premier League’s top scorer this season, with 17 goals to Mo Salah’s 15.

2 – Spurs have scored two or more goals in seven straight league games for the first time since 2011. 

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