Harry Winks admitted his long-range wonder goal was a total fluke, as Tottenham put four past Ludogorets to further their chances of qualifying for the Europa League knockout stages.
Jose Mourinho made ten changes from the side that brilliantly beat Manchester City at the weekend, with midfielder Tanguy Ndombele the only many to keep his place. Despite fielding a ‘fringe’ eleven Spurs were in complete control throughout the tie as the Bulgarian side struggled to offer any real threat to Joe Hart’s goal.
The host’s dominance paid off after just 16 minutes, as a deflected Dele Alli pass fell to the feet off striker Carlos Vinicius who calmly slotted home his first for the club. The man on-loan from Benfica added a second not long after, the move starting with a fine driving run from Ndombele, with the Frenchman’s subsequent effort parried straight to the feet of Alli who unselfishly laid the ball off for Vinicius to tap home.
The night then saw a moment of magic as midfielder Harry Winks’ over-hit pass sailed past ‘keeper Plamen Iliev and into the roof of the net, with the England international having struck the ball from a full 53 yards. The home side then added a fourth, this time Vinicius turning provider, the forward controlling well before teeing up compatriot Lucas Moura who duly curled the ball into the far corner.
The latter stages of the game saw a raft of changes as Mourinho handed debuts to a trio of Spurs youngsters, with Alfie Whiteman, Harvey White and 16-year-old Dane Scarlett all entering the fray. The major story of the night, however, came courtesy of fellow academy product Winks’ long-range goal, although the 24-year-old admitted it wasn’t quite an intentional effort, as he scored his first goal in almost two years for the club.
“I’d love to sit here and say that I did, but I’ve got to be honest and say no. I saw Gaz (Gareth Bale) run in. I’ll take it at the end of the day,” Winks told BT Sport.
53.7 – Harry Winks’ goal vs Ludogorets came from a distance of 53.7 yards – only two goals have been scored from further out in the Europa League since 2009-10; Jordi Gómez v PSV (61.2 yards) and Kemar Roofe v Standard Liège (55.4 yards), both in October of this year. Pinpoint. pic.twitter.com/b9zaZ9q1ya
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 26, 2020
“It has been a while (since I last scored) but I am happy with the way the team played.”
“It was really enjoyable. We started with the right intensity because we didn’t give them any chance to breathe. It was a good game for us.”
Despite continuing to feature at international level under Gareth Southgate, Winks has struggled for game time of late under Mourinho and he outlined his frustration at his current situation.
“It is tough. It is very difficult. All I can do is when I get opportunities like this is play well.”
Tottenham have a huge clash to come at the weekend against potential title challengers Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
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