Dejan Kulusevski produced a dazzling display to help Tottenham beat Southampton 4-1 in their Premier League opener and then promised to improve further.
The Sweden international’s quality helped Spurs respond quickly after falling behind early on against Saints with his fine left-footed cross able to spot Ryan Sessegnon, who headed in the equalizer in the 21st minute.
Kulusevski continued to be the visitors’ chief hangman throughout the game and wrapped up the scoring in the capital with a magnificent curling effort after 63 minutes to follow Eric Dier’s first-half header and an own goal. camp of Mohammad Salisu.
Boss Antonio Conte has decided against starting one of the club’s six summer signings, but increased competition for places already seems to have had an impact.
“All my goals come from this area, three or four meters behind. I have to keep scoring, but also keep developing my game and scoring different goals,” Kulusevski told Spurs TV.
“The players who have arrived are amazing, I think they will help us a lot and it is very important that all 20 players are ready to play.
“For me, I have to grow. I have to improve in every way. I want to become a better football player, so I have to keep listening to my fantastic coach, be humble and keep living my dream.
The January arrival of Kulusevski was a key reason for Spurs’ strong end to the 2021-22 season, where victory at Norwich on the final day of the campaign earned fourth place and League qualification champions.
The Juventus loanee netted his sixth goal for the club in the emphatic victory but the excitement and anticipation around N17 had been briefly dampened when Saints skipper James Ward-Prowse fired the visitors after 12 minutes.
Kulusevski said during his flash television interview: “We are very satisfied. It was not an easy game, falling behind at home is not nice, but after scoring we could have scored a lot more.
“I like the way this team plays because we create a lot of chances and the fans appreciate that. I like playing and I missed playing. It’s so nice to be back in front of the fans and the family and I really enjoyed that.
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl was delighted his side had not “collapsed” after Spurs struck twice quickly after half-time to make it 4-1 in the 63rd minute.
Saints fielded a young starting XI in London with ex-Manchester City youngster and summer signings Gavin Bazunu and Romeo Lavia making their top flight debuts, but the class divide between the sides has come to the fore full time.
“It’s frustrating but not completely surprising that if a situation like the two goals happens, this game can go in such a direction. I didn’t feel like we were completely collapsing. There was still a structure at the end,” Hasenhuttl insisted.
“You have to be clear, we’re playing against maybe the best strikers in the world and if you have moments where you have to defend one-on-one, that’s tough and that’s no surprise to me.
“We got off to a good start. We were brave, we tried to play forward, we had a good time and scored a good goal. Everything was going our way but then I felt the opponents kick into high gear and it got comfortable.
“Yeah, strong side. They play for the Champions League and for the titles. You can see they have strength across the team and still players like Richarlison, who didn’t play. There is quality everywhere. »