Football

'Spurs must prove they're the real deal'

Souness says London side must keep 'special players' and spend big to strengthen team

As farewell parties go, the one that ended an era at Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane yesterday morning (Singapore time) was close to perfection.

After a sea of blue and white marked the final kick-off at the club's home for 118 years, Tottenham went on to beat England's most successful club Manchester United 2-1.

And, as an emotional post-match ceremony drew to a close with a Gospel choir belting out "Glory Glory Tottenham Hotspur", a spectacular rainbow arched its way over the stadium as ticker-tape rained down on misty-eyed fans.

It would have all felt a bit hollow had Tottenham blotted a season of home excellence with a first defeat.

But Mauricio Pochettino's vibrant side played their part perfectly, marking the 2,533rd and last match at one of English football's most atmospheric grounds with a club record-equalling 14th consecutive home victory that ensured they will finish runners-up behind English Premier League champions Chelsea.

It is their best finish for 54 years, since the glory days of the 1960s when the club were setting new standards in English football under Bill Nicholson.

Wayne Rooney will go down as the ground's last-ever scorer after his consolation for United, but nothing could dampen the spirits of the Spurs fans and their manager Pochettino.

"I am a very lucky guy because to share the history of such a club in that special moment is so lucky. I am so happy," Pochettino said.

MOST SPECIAL DAY

"In the game, we played well and got the three points and the ceremony with the legends, the people, the staff and my family... For me, it will always be the most special day, the last day of White Hart Lane."

Pochettino will no doubt try to go one better next season and, to do that, Graeme Souness has urged Spurs to spend big money on players this summer.

"I've said it before, this is the best Tottenham team I've ever seen," said the former Liverpool manager and Sky Sports pundit.

"They've got a bit about them in every department. They'll take you on physically, they are a good football team and they've got some very special players.

"Going forward, in theory, they should only get better.

"What they have to do is not sit on their laurels.

"The board shouldn't listen to people like us saying what a fabulous team they've got, they should be saying, 'We are going to have to go out and strengthen next year' - because it's guaranteed Chelsea will, the team that finished above them.

"They've got to go out and spend big money again. Prove to the fans they are the real deal and are going to have a right go.

"You don't sit back and wait for this team to become champions because that might not happen. Some of them might not get any better.

"You've got to add to the squad and have a right go because they are that near. They are not very far away."

Souness also feels that the London club need to hold on to their star names, such as Harry Kane and Dele Alli, insisting they should not be sold to a Premier League rival at any cost.

However, he admitted that it would be hard to stop any player moving to Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich.

"They shouldn't be selling to any other English clubs," Souness said.

"If the big two in Spain come along, it's very hard to say, 'I don't want to go'. Then there's Bayern to a lesser extent.

"But this team should not be selling any of their best players in England." - WIRE SERVICES

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