Europa League awaits Tottenham after win over sorry Sheffield United

Posted Monday, May 20, 2024 by PA

Europa League awaits Tottenham after win over sorry Sheffield United

Tottenham confirmed their Europa League qualification after a season-ending 3-0 win at relegated Sheffield United.

Spurs travelled to Bramall Lane with some jeopardy over which European competition they would be playing in next season, with a defeat possibly seeing them drop into the third-tier Europa Conference League.

But Dejan Kulusevski’s double and Pedro Porro’s strike ensured they took care of their business and earned a fifth-placed finish in Ange Postecoglou’s first year in charge.

That represents progress in a season where they did not have star striker Harry Kane and they will look to push on next term after they head for a whistlestop visit to Australia.

The Blades will be in the Championship after a horror season which saw them record the joint third lowest points tally in Premier League history with 16, and the 104 goals they have conceded and goal difference of minus-69 are also records they will not be proud of.

They desperately wanted to go out in style and started brightly with Ben Brereton Diaz firing over from Ben Osborn’s through-ball and then hitting the post after Gus Hamer’s cross.

But it was the same old story, with missed chances being punished after bad defending at the other end.

It was far too easy for Spurs to take a 14th-minute lead when the ball fell to Kulusevski 10 yards out and he drilled into the bottom corner.

The Blades’ defence was typically leaky and Spurs racked up the chances to increase their advantage, but Wes Foderingham denied Kulusevski with a low save, James Maddison hit the post with Son Heung-min’s rebound well saved, and Cristian Romero prodded Porro’s cross wide.

Foderingham then denied Porro with a smart stop and then when he caught the resulting corner he launched a quick counter-attack which saw Hamer play Cameron Archer in on goal, but the on-loan Aston Villa striker dallied and his shot was deflected wide.

Foderingham was the busiest player on the pitch and he scrambled to keep out Micky van de Ven’s effort but Spurs doubled their lead from the rebound when Porro flashed an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net just before the hour.

It was 3-0 in the 65th minute as Kulusevski got his second, sliding home from Son’s centre. The goal ensured United matched Derby’s record worst goal difference of the Premier League era, from their 11-point relegation season in 2007-08.

There was embarrassment for referee Andy Madeley who brandished a red card to Andre Brooks after he clashed with Son at a set-piece, but the official was forced to overturn the decision and did not even give the Blades midfielder a yellow card after viewing the pitchside monitor.

Spurs took their foot off the gas in the closing stages as their minds shifted to their 24-hour flight to Melbourne for a friendly with Newcastle on Wednesday.


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