Tottenham Hotspur celebrated the final fixture at White Hart Lane in style with a 2-1 win over Manchester United.
On a nostalgic afternoon, Victor Wanyama settled the nerves by heading in the opening goal on six minutes. Harry Kane, a cult hero in this part of north London, doubled the home side’s lead soon after the break and although Wayne Rooney netted late on, it proved to be only a consolation for the visitors.
After the inevitable pitch invasion, a farewell parade took place for which nearly every Tottenham supporter stayed, to salute the club’s former and current stars.
Here are three things we learnt from Spurs’ triumph, which was a fitting finale for one of English football’s grandest stadiums.
Like the Lane, Wembley needs to become a fortress for Spurs
Spurs’ hopes of winning the title evaporated with a surprise defeat at the hands of West Ham United just over a week ago. Nonetheless, Mauricio Pochettino’s men still had plenty to play for, not least ensuring they sealed second place – their highest ever finish in the Premier League era.
There was a fear that the emotion of the day could overcome the players, but they rose to the occasion with a typically dominant performance at a ground that has been a fortress this season. Spurs have been unbeaten at home all campaign, winning 17 of their 19 fixtures including the last 14.
It is an astonishing record that helped take the title race into the final month. Now comes the change. Tottenham’s troubles at Wembley in Europe have been well documented but this is an issue they will need to conquer, with the national stadium becoming their home for the entire 2017/18 campaign.
Hitting the ground running would put the supporters at ease.
Unapologetic Mourinho puts all his eggs in one basket
United’s line-up at White Hart Lane stuck true to Mourinho’s vow that he would prioritise the Europa League over the domestic competition.
When Arsenal ended the Red Devils’ 25-match unbeaten run in the Premier League last weekend, the Portuguese conceded that his side’s top-four ambitions were over, even though a party-spoiling victory at the Lane would have kept them in contention.
With that in mind, there was no room for the in-form Marcus Rashford or Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the starting XI against Spurs, both of whom were named on the bench.
Mourinho has made no apologies for this approach and is almost certain to rotate his squad again for their two remaining fixtures, to ensure that his players are fresh for the Europa League final against Ajax. Victory there will see them qualify for the Champions League. It may not be the conventional route, but the fans would settle for it.
No doubt about it, Kane is now a world-class striker
With his 22nd Premier League goal of the season, Kane moved above Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez into outright second in the goalscoring chart. He is now just a couple behind Romelu Lukaku and with Spurs still to play two games compared with Everton’s one, he could pip the Belgian to the Golden Boot, an accolade he won last campaign.
Had Kane not missed nine matches through injury, he would almost certainly be out in front. Averaging a goal every 107 minutes, the Englishman has proved himself to be a world-class performer by scoring regularly for three consecutive seasons.
He is no poacher; Kane is capable of the sublime as he has shown on numerous occasions. Put simply, he is the real deal. Deceptively quick and strong, Kane is also very good in the air and has all the attributes to become a great forward for Tottenham and England.