Emerson Royal goal marks superb turnaround from fans’ jeers to keeping £40m Pedro Porro out the Tottenham team
Emerson Royal continued his impressive turnaround with the breakthrough goal as Tottenham moved into the top four with their 2-0 win over West Ham.
A cool first-time finish capped another standout display from the Brazilian, who was jeered off the pitch by his own fans during Spurs’s 4-3 win over Leeds on November 12 but has been outstanding since the restart.
In the first half of the season, Antonio Conte’s faith in Emerson was as baffling as it was frustrating for supporters, with Matt Doherty and summer signing Djed Spence repeatedly overlooked as the 24-year-old laboured at wing-back.
The arrival of £40million deadline-day signing Pedro Porro should have signalled the end of Emerson’s run as first choice, but it has only galvanised the seven-cap Brazil international, who is finally adding end product to his defensive nous and justifying Conte’s faith.
The £25m signing from Barcelona has always been an astute defender, but never looked suited to playing as a wing-back in the Italian’s system.
While he is unlikely to ever offer the thrust or final ball of Achraf Hakimi or even Victor Moses, he is improving in the final third, and his well-taken goal yesterday was his second in seven matches after scoring in the 4-2 defeat at City.
Porro, by contrast, struggled on debut in the 4-1 defeat at Leicester last weekend and could find himself limited to a start against Sheffield United in the FA Cup in the foreseeable future.
Heung-min Son came off the bench to score Spurs’s second, meaning he has now found the net four times in two substitute appearances in the league.
Assistant Cristian Stellini said that Conte is unlikely to be back for next weekend’s game against Chelsea as he recovers from gallbladder surgery in Italy.