American Football

Tottenham 3-0 APOEL: Mauricio Pochettino delighted for deadline day signing Fernando Llorente breaking his Spurs goal duck

Mauricio Pochettino has tipped Fernando Llorente to grow in confidence after the Spaniard finally broke his Tottenham goal duck.

Llorente, the £14million summer signing from Swansea, had failed to hit the net in his previous 16 appearances for his new club.

But the former Juventus striker got off the mark against Cypriot champions Apoel Nicosia at Wembley.

In the 20th minute Serge Aurier's cross was behind Llorente but he expertly turned his marker and guided his shot past Apoel keeper Nauzet Perez.

"It's important for him," admitted Spurs boss Pochettino.

"When you are a striker you need to feel the net. Of course players need time to adapt, when you arrive at a new team with no pre-season you need time to find your best level.

"It's difficult to play 20 or 30 minutes, it's important for him to feel he can cope for 90 minutes.

"He is a player who is going to help the team a lot. He has been helping a lot but now with more confidence and belief he is going to help more."

Eight minutes before half-time Son Heung-min exchanged passes with Llorente on the edge of the area before curling a powerful effort inside the far post for number two.

And 10 minutes from the end French winger Georges-Kevin N'Koudou made the most of his rare appearance in the starting line-up with a deflected goal to wrap up a routine 3-0 win.

Tottenham were already certain to finish top of Group H and Pochettino made eight changes to his side, leaving out the likes of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen.

He added: "I'm very happy, for different players had a different opportunity to play and show their quality.

"They will add quality and put pressure on the players in the first XI.

"To have more players with the confidence to compete for a place is important and will help the team a lot.

"Now we need to be focused on winning in the Premier League again. But this season I think has been a massive step up for us."

Defeat meant Apoel missed out on a place in the Europa League, but coach Giorgos Donis said: "It was a fantastic experience, this trip was wonderful.

"You see a different level and you see your place in that. Our fans were amazing, we didn't give them the result they wanted but it was magical to see them here."

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