Less than 24 hours on from Olivier Giroud’s superb bicycle kick winner for Chelsea against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League in Bucharest, the England midfielder – an afterthought at Spurs for much of a difficult 2020/21 season – netted a similarly stunning goal versus Wolfsberger at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The influential Dele later turned provider for Carlos Vinicius’ second-half header and a thunderous late strike from Gareth Bale, who came off the bench to continue his recent rise ahead of a likely rare Premier League start against Burnley on Sunday.
Spurs’ emphatic 4-0 win over the plucky but overmatched Austrian minnows – which came on the 13th anniversary of their last trophy success in the 2008 League Cup final – follows their convincing 4-1 triumph in Budapest six days ago, meaning they win the last-32 tie 8-1 on aggregate.
The draw for the last-16 is set to be made in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday afternoon.
No team in the history of European football has exited a competition after winning the first leg by three or more goals away from home and Tottenham were never in any danger of bucking that trend.
With progress long since secured, Jose Mourinho was able to hand late debuts to younsters Marcel Lavinier and Nile John off the bench on Wednesday, while 16-year-old substitute Dane Scarlett played an instrumental role in Benfica loanee Vinicius’ second strike.
Tottenham’s continued progress in Europe is a pleasant distraction from their wretched domestic form, with Sunday’s defeat by London rivals West Ham heaping pressure on the manager and making it five losses from the last six top-flight matches, sparking talks of a crisis and increasing the importance of success in the Europa League, which is now likely to offer their only route back into the Champions League next term.