Harry Kane scored a hat-trick, Hull City fans implored Marco Silva to stay on as their manager and the fluency of Tottenham Hotspur’s play offered tantalising hints of what might have been.
With Kane securing the Golden Boot by taking his Premier League goal tally to 29 this season and Dele Alli shining brightly in the hazy East Yorkshire sunshine, already relegated Hull were thoroughly outclassed by visitors who, until fairly recently, had entertained hopes of securing the title here.
It was not to be and they, eventually, had to settle for second place but next season Mauricio Pochettino’s side will surely be parking their tanks on Chelsea’s lawn.
On this evidence the real mystery is how on earth Spurs are currently bereft of silverware. “We’ve finished the way we want to finish – fantastically,” Pochettino said. “I’m very happy for Harry, it’s an amazing achievement and we’ve shown we’ve learnt from last season.
“We’ve improved, mentally we’re tougher. Our level is now higher and it’s a good platform. Now we must move on, try to improve the squad and challenge to win trophies next season.”
This time last year his team surrendered 5-1 to already relegated Newcastle United at St James’ Park, where the action was played out against a repetitive soundtrack of “Rafa Benítez, we want you to stay”.
Twelve months on and 100 miles to the south, there was a distinct sense of deja vu in the humid air. “Marco Silva, we want you to stay,” chorused the KCom Stadium as the Portuguese coach who had so nearly rescued Hull from relegation paced his technical area.
As the scoreline rather cruelly emphasises, that was where the similarities ended. Unlike Benítez, Silva seems unlikely to listen to those pleas, with the much admired young manager courted by many clubs including Watford and, possibly, Southampton. He is widely expected to announce his departure by Wednesday.
“It’s not the moment to talk now,” he said, before hinting that his heart and head are sending him conflicting messages. “Of course, I feel the supporters’ love,” he said. “It was an amazing moment for me but I need to analyse what’s best for me and the club. I have to analyse not only with my heart. I need to think. I have to decide what’s best. Now is not the moment to talk.”
He was a little less reticent about the performance. “I’m disappointed,” Silva said. “We didn’t play well. The only positive thing was our supporters, they deserved something really different. I feel they’re deserving something more. They’ve been amazing for the last few months. It was a difficult moment for me.”
Anxious to confirm his status as the top tier’s leading scorer for a second successive season, Kane swiftly scored his 27th goal of the campaign. When Eric Dier seized possession and Christian Eriksen’s pass confounded the new-look home back five, Kane found himself in space on the edge and drove a low, left-foot shot beyond David Marshall.
Goal No28 was not far behind. This time, Kane tapped in from close rangeafter connecting with Kieran Trippier’s volleyed cross at the conclusion of a move instigated by Dier’s high-calibre diagonally chipped pass.
With half-time approaching Kane turned creator, playing in Son Heung-min whose cut-back found Dele Alli. All that remained was for Alli to take a steadying touch before directing a shot past Marshallwho might have been beginning to regret Silva’s decision to offer him a rare start.
Recognising that his players could not cope with the sharpness, rapidity and sheer imagination of Ali’s movement, Hull’s manager had some thinking to do at the interval. His team re-emerged in a reconfigured, back four, guise with Kamil Grosicki having replaced Curtis Davies. It prompted a slight improvement, manifested by the conjuring of a handful of half chances.
They even scored a goal when Oumar Niasse’s shot was blocked and Sam Clucas’s deflected left-foot shot beat Hugo Lloris but any Humberside joy was quickly cancelled out when Victor Wanyama responded by heading home Eriksen’s free-kick. It was the Dane’s 14th assist of a stellar season.
Alli then cued Kane up for a treble, completed courtesy of another left-foot shot which squirmed under Marshall. “It will be a challenge for Harry to try to score 30 goals next season,” said Pochettino, who watched approvingly.
Ben Davies extended his own left boot by lashing the afternoon’s most eye-catching goal past Hull’s goalkeeper from just outside the area. “We want seven,” demanded the visiting fans and Toby Alderweireld duly obliged, turning in Trippier’s cross. “Are you watching, Arsenal,” roared those approving Spurs supporters as Silva headed straight down the tunnel.TG