Tottenham just never seem to do things the easy way. Restoring some much-needed confidence one week ago with a 3-1 victory against Nottingham Forest, the Lilywhites came crashing back down to earth on the south coast on Saturday afternoon.

Taking on struggling Southampton, it looked like the ideal game for Antonio Conte's side to record another win and also move into third place ahead of the international break. Spurs had three points in the bag with 16 minutes remaining after Ivan Perisic had added to goals from Pedro Porro and Harry Kane to give them a 3-1 lead.

They just couldn't see out the game, though, and conceded a number of chances before James Ward-Prowse added to Theo Walcott's 77th minute strike by netting a controversial penalty in stoppage time for a share of the spoils. It ultimately felt like a defeat for Tottenham and it resulted in a furious Conte letting rip at his squad in a remarkable press conference at St Mary's.

READ MORE: Every word of Antonio Conte's remarkable and furious press conference about Tottenham

Raging that his team didn't come away with three points, there were a couple of positives that the Italian could take away from the game on the south coast, even though it didn't result in a win.

Oliver Skipp delivered another all-action display in the middle of the park and made a number of important tackles across the pitch, with Dejan Kulusevski having a real impact on proceedings after replacing Richarlison in the opening minutes of the contest.

Porro, fresh from registering his first assist for the club against Nottingham Forest, was also a standout player for Tottenham and demonstrated why the club were so keen to lure him to N17 from Sporting CP in January. Previously just not getting enough out of his right wing-backs in an attacking sense to make his system work to perfection, Conte will be very pleased with what he has seen from the 23-year-old so far.

While of course it is going to take time for the player to fully adapt to the pace and intensity of the Premier League, he has made a positive start and is only going to get better for Tottenham. The Spain international constantly looked to attack at Southampton and found himself in some excellent positions in the first half.

Having blazed two shoots over, it was third time lucky for the youngster on the stroke of half-time as he collected Son Heung-min's perfect pass and rifled the ball in off the underside of the crossbar to give Gavin Bazunu no chance in the Southampton goal. Successful with two of his four dribbles, two of his five crosses and one of his three long balls, not everything came off for Porro but he showed his attacking intent and left Spurs fans wanting so much more.

The game at St Mary's also allowed him the chance to get a good amount of minutes under his belt playing alongside Kulusevski, who was introduced within minutes of kick-off after Richarlison had to make way. Having to warm up when Armel Bella-Kotchap was down on the ground getting treatment as there was no time to do so once Spurs knew Richarlison was coming off, Kulusevski didn't suffer for his swift introduction and was straight down to business.

Teeing up Porro soon after and putting in an inviting cross that Eric Dier headed wide, he got the assist his performance deserved in the second half as he cut in from the right and Kane was on hand to head in his left-footed cross. Kulusevski also had a role to play in Perisic's strike as it was his cross that was cleared to the Croat before he volleyed in.

Far from his best of late and maybe needing a breather from the starting XI to help him rediscover his best form, Kulusevski's numbers from the Southampton game were impressive with two successful dribbles from three attempted, two accurate cross from a possible three and one accurate long ball.

Forming an instant relationship with Matt Doherty down the right flank at the end of last season as both regularly chipped in with goals and assists, the signs are certainly there that Porro and Kulusevski can do likewise and strike up a strong partnership in very little time.

Doing more than enough to keep his position in the team at Everton after Richarlison's early exit, Tottenham fans will likely get another taste of seeing what the Swede and his new teammate can do together down the right flank.

Perhaps extremely hard for Conte to see any positives from the 3-3 draw right now, he can take heart from the performance of his right-sided players and the fact that there is a very promising partnership right there that can benefit Tottenham.

If he isn't to be at the helm next season, he can still hand Spurs the ultimate gift if Porro and Kulusevski go from strength to strength in the final ten games.


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2023-03-19T07:28:06Z dg43tfdfdgfd