Harry Redknapp thought he would have a problem keeping everyone happy in a squad that is top-heavy with attacking quality, but so far the signs are encouraging. Saturday's rout of Burnley was the fourth time Tottenham have hit five goals in a game, with Robbie Keane joining Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch as an early-season hat-trick scorer.
In fact, the captain pulled rank and went one better, racking up four goals. He had plenty to play for, Crouch having found himself back on the sidelines despite his Carling Cup treble against Preston earlier in the week. Crouch and Defoe face a similar problem regarding the England benchmark; neither can get a start under Fabio Capello. It has worked for the national side, with both producing handy cameos for the Italian, and Redknapp, who also has Roman Pavlyuchenko on his strikers' roster, appears to be getting the mix right.
"Crouchy will be low after being left out because I can't give him any excuses for why I'm leaving him out," he said. "It's just a gut feeling I have as a manager when picking the team. That's what I have to do, that's my job and if you get it wrong too many times you don't have a job, do you?"
Keane backed that up when he said: "He knows how to manage players. Over the years he's been known to do that and has certainly been doing it since he has been here. Sometimes you wake up and feel like you'll score goals. I didn't feel like that on the day of this game. Sometimes you feel a bit stiff or tired in the warm-up, but then you play and it happens. You can't explain it."
Burnley's dreadful, flat-footed defending was also difficult to explain and their away record in the Premier League is showing an alarming trend; 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, 5-0. Keane should have opened the scoring after 12 minutes but Brian Jensen rushed out to save. Six minutes later, the hapless André Bikey felled Defoe and Keane converted from the spot. Jermaine Jenas added a second for Spurs before half-time, with a crisp half-volley from 20 yards that took a deflection.
Burnley were bright in possession, dim-witted without the ball and after Carlo Cudicini saved from Robbie Blake the traffic was one-way. Keane made it 3-0 after Jenas and Aaron Lennon had combined well and another Capello option, Tom Huddlestone, laid on Keane's hat-trick strike. The fifth goal came via a knockdown from Crouch – Defoe had been withdrawn after dislocating a finger – and Keane poked the ball through Jensen's legs.
"When you meet any striker in good form it will be a difficult task as a defence, but we contributed more to their goals than they did," lamented Burnley's centre-back Clarke Carlisle. "We caused ourselves too many problems and at this level you will be exposed."
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Cudicini; Corluka, Huddlestone, Bassong (Dawson, 88), Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Bale, 84), Palacios, Jenas, Kranjcar; Defoe (Crouch, 57), Keane. Substitutes not used: Gomes (gk), Hutton, Bentley, Naughton.
Burnley (4-4-2): Jensen; Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Jordan; Elliott, Alexander, Gudjonsson, Blake (Guerrero, 81); Nugent (Eagles, 63), Fletcher (Thompson, 72). Substitutes not used: Penny (gk), Duff, Caldwell, McDonald.
Booked: Tottenham Palacios; Burnley Bikey.
Referee: M Dean (Wirral).
Man of the match: Keane.
Attendance: 35,462.Reuse content