Harry Kane came off the bench to score a 20-minute hat-trick as Tottenham recorded their first Europa Conference League win with victory over NS Mura.
Just before the hour against NS Mura, Nuno was forced to make a triple change and bring on three players who for a long time looked like they would not be needed and able to put their feet up for the night.
With Spurs first toiling and then wobbling, Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Lucas Moura, Spurs’ most experienced attackers, were all summoned from the bench to help steady the ship.
It was a moment which summed up how much of a meal Spurs were making of overcoming their limited visitors in their second Europa Conference League group game and how much they could not afford yet another morale-sapping and disappointing result following Sunday’s north London derby horror show. and having not won in 90 minutes since the end of August.
Fortunately, the change paid off, spectacularly by full time.
Nine minutes after their introduction, Moura teed up Kane to settle Spurs’ nerves, Son then turned provider for the England captain before he converted Giovani Lo Celso’s pass to complete a clinical 20-minute hat-trick.
As Spurs as a whole should have been, Kane was simply too good for the reigning Slovenian champions.
It was his first treble for exactly a year which puts him in illustrious company alongside Gerd Muller and Juup Heynckes as just the third player to score a hat-trick in three different UEFA competitions.
And while he has been out of sorts in the Premier League, Kane has looked more like his usual self elsewhere.
In the end the final score line was comfortable and a fairer reflection of the expected gap between the two sides. But the fact the cavalry were needed to get to that point against, currently Slovenia’s fifth best side, was far from ideal.
Nuno said: ‘The game needed them. The best way was to have the players on the pitch and they brought the energy the team needed.
‘It was good for the team, good for everybody. Today was important. We started well. The only period was the beginning of the second half. We lost a bit of control but the reaction to their goal was good.’
Kane said: ‘We hadn’t spoken about it [the substitutions]. It was all depending on how the game was going. The momentum shifted in their favor. It was about coming on and doing a job for the team. “Our recent form has not been great but we need to try to turn it round next game. Every striker wants to score goals. I probably wasn’t expecting to come on but it’s nice to get the minutes. Whenever you see the ball hit the back of the net it’s a good feeling. Hopefully, we can take it into the weekend”.