Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado believes his midweek hat-trick is just the start of him repaying the fans’ patience after struggling to adjust to life in north London.
The Spaniard arrived to much fanfare in a £26m deal from Valencia in the summer but has failed to justify what was then a club-record transfer fee.
He also had to deal with personal tragedy after his wife, Rocio Millan, suffered a miscarriage last month.
Soldado’s form began well enough, with two goals in his first two Premier League outings, but he has only managed another two in the 11 League games since, prompting manager Andre Villas-Boas to leave him out of the last two domestic fixtures.
But the 28-year-old has given his manager a real selection dilemma ahead of today’s visit of Liverpool by scoring that fine hat-trick against Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League on Thursday.
Soldado is just happy to be back among the goals after his tough start. “It’s true that the first couple of months were quite difficult,” he said, “because there were a lot of changes to be made, and as soon as you leave training you have a lot of things to sort out, school for the kids, a house.” Then, he added: “A month ago my wife was pregnant but unfortunately she had a miscarriage and lost the baby. And so now, well that’s that...”
Soldado has nothing but praise for the reaction of the Spurs fans during these hard times. “The support and backing they have shown for me game after game, in spite of the fact I haven’t been performing, has always been unconditional and at least now I can show my gratitude to them with goals, which is what they want to see.
“My family feel fine and are settled, so am I. The only thing missing were the goals and they’ve come against Anzhi.
“I think that I’ve been here for long enough now to have a good understanding with my team-mates during a game, which is the most important thing. So let’s hope that from now on the goals keep on coming and you will start to see another Roberto Soldado.”
Goals are precisely what Spurs need in today’s crucial clash with Brendan Rodgers’ high-flying side, for whom Luis Suarez has been in such potent form, scoring six in his last two games.
Tottenham might have made an inconsistent start to the season, which included a 6-0 drubbing at Manchester City three weeks ago, but Liverpool are only three points above them on 30 points. Soldado added on Friday: “That’s what we all want, to have 30 points on the board by Sunday. It’s going to be a difficult game, we all know what sort of potential Liverpool have as a team, but we are at home and we need to be strong and go for the win.”