Mauricio Pochettino says Son Heung-min is proving that it was the correct decision to keep the midfielder at Tottenham this summer.
The 24-year-old South Korean moved to White Hart Lane from Bayer Leverkusen at the start of last season but featured more often from the bench than in a starting role in the league and he was linked with a move away from north London during the window.
That closed last week with Son still a Spurs player, though, and having opted to return home early from international duty with South Korea to fight for his place in Pochettino’s side, he responded by netting a brace in a 4-0 win over the Potters after replacing Erik Lamela in the starting line-up.
His manager conceded he had a decision to make over Son’s future this summer and was elated his decision to keep him was vindicated with his performance in the Potteries.
Asked if his winger was close to leaving, Pochettino replied: “Not only Son, different players. Last season was tough for him and we have to make the decision, in or out.
“We took the decision for him to stay with us and I’m very pleased now. He had the opportunity to play and show he can help us. We’re very pleased for him.”
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The thrashing of Stoke was Spurs’ first fixture in a seven-match run over 23 days as they return to the Champions League and EFL Cup while also facing Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Manchester City in the league before the international break.
It means Pochettino, who favoured a similar 11 from week-to-week during their title challenge last term, expects Son and others on the fringes of the first team to feature more regularly.
“We need to be conscious that we have a tough season ahead with the Champions League and different cups, and the Premier League is tough,” the Argentinian added.
“The depth of the squad is very important, they have to fight for a place in the starting 11; with seven games in 23 days, we need all the players ready to compete and play.”
Defeat for Stoke left them rooted to the foot of the Premier League table and without a clean sheet in 14 league games.
For the second home game in a row they conceded four times and looked alarmingly open as soon as they fell two goals behind, with boss Mark Hughes expressing concerns over his team’s in-game management.
“When momentum shifts and the game is getting a little bit pressurised, in terms of going against you, we’ve got to recognise those moments in the game and adjust our play accordingly,” he said.
“You regroup and give yourself time to clear your head and go again and get back into the game. At the moment we’re not recognising those moments when momentum is shifting.”