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Supporters were stunned when Son Heung-min came off the bench on Saturday night to score a 14-minute hat-trick in Tottenham’s 6-2 defeat to Leicester.
The South Korean forward got off to an indifferent start to his campaign, failing to find the net ahead of Saturday’s game against Leicester and being dropped on the bench by Antonio Conte as a result.
After taking the lead via Rodrigo Bentancur just after the break, Conte decided to attack his spry South Korean attacker in the final half hour of the game.
Son Heung-min came off the bench to break the Premier League drought and score his first goals of the season
While Tottenham looked comfortable, Son scored all three points with a great effort taken in 73 minutes. It was his first goal at Lilywhite since his hat-trick on the last day of last season at Norwich.
Conte revealed ahead of the match that Son was “angry” at his current form and shouted for the Italian to try a front three of Dejan Kulusevski, Harry Kane and Richarlison who are getting stronger by the week. Son showed both this anger and frustration at not having started the match by not celebrating his spectacular right footed effort and instead put his finger to his lips.
Usually a jovial character with a grin etched on his face, Son exuded the attitude of a player who was disappointed with their current situation and who had not been given a chance to set things right from the start by his manager.
The South Korean admitted to being disappointed with his own performance so far this season
Dissatisfied with one on his return to the Premier League scorebooks, Son had a second just minutes later.
He picked up the ball on the right and curled into a beautiful shot with the left past the hapless Danny Ward. Again the finger was raised as he watched the merry Tottenham fans.
It was hard not to feel that the finger raised in a soothing motion wasn’t focused on the “noise” that surrounds him this season.
Believing it couldn’t get much better for the forward, he capped off his amazing cameo with a hat-trick. He raced on goal and shoved the ball under Ward to send the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium into a frenzy.
Son’s second goal saw him bend the ball around Leicester’s goal-line and into Danny Ward’s net
His once again muffled celebration was interrupted by the assistant’s flag, but a VAR check showed he was indeed level. Cue second set of wild parties.
Son’s return to form will be most welcome at Tottenham Hotspur, where Conte’s side looked a little worried in front of goal during their midweek defeat to Sporting Lisbon.
After becoming co-top goalscorer in the Premier League last season, Son was expected to start with this, but it hasn’t clicked for him yet. Richarlison, so impressive since completing his move from Everton this summer, had seen his stock rise, both as a combination of his own work and Son’s poor form.
Social media was in a state of shock as Son performed his astonishing 14-minute frenzy to extinguish any threat of a late Leicester revival, with many supporters focusing on Son’s – lack of – celebration.
Each of Son’s celebrations was muted and seemed to reflect his anger that he had fallen on the couch
“Son with a party that says ‘he dropped me for some bad games, bro lemme show ya,'” commented one supporter after his first goal.
Another wrote: ‘Finally getting to see Son’s goal.’
While another also chose to focus on his celebration, he wrote, “Cold celebration of Son.”
‘Pitch perfect goal celebration of Son Heung-min,’ wrote another.
Son’s first goals of the season put him above Richarlison and one behind Harry Kane in Tottenham’s scoresheets
Another added: “The son’s celebration said it all.”
Another jokingly commented on Son’s first two goals, both attempts from outside the 18-yard box: ‘Yeah, look, that was the problem, Son shot from the box earlier. Not good.’
Meanwhile, Son admitted after the game that he was “disappointed” with his current level of performance, while in his opinion the team was performing “very, very well”.
He told Sky Sports: “It was a top performance and I was really frustrated too. The way I play, I can do much better than I was. I’ve been disappointed, the team has done very, very well, but I was disappointed with my performance.
His third saw him wriggle the ball under an unlucky Danny Ward before being forced to wait for VAR
“It was a tough game at 3-2 and you never know in the Premier League. I wanted to do my best for the team. I will always try to do that when I play. I tried to help the team on the bench. I’m glad we won the international break match,” he added.
“My finish is bad this season. I was also a bit unlucky with an own goal, two offside goals and hitting the crossbar. I knew there were going to be goals and I wasn’t worried. I’ve always had great supporters, teammates and coaches behind me.
‘I like to shoot outside the box – I’ve practiced that since childhood. Even now after training, when I have time, I try to practice from that position and hit the top corner. I’m really glad the ball finally went in!
The attacker cut a relived post-match figure as he left the field with the match ball
“I was pretty sure I was on-side for the hat trick! I’m glad I was able to help the team, that’s very important and I can go to national service with renewed energy.
‘I get emotional’ [about the support] to be honest. There has been great support and I have always felt that I have let my teammates and fans down with my performances. They have always supported me.’
The result takes Tottenham above their North London rivals Arsenal, who play at Brentford on Sunday, to the second tier on points with leaders Manchester City.
They travel to Arsenal in their first game after the upcoming international break.