THEY got themselves a title-winning boss during the prime of their lives.
And now Tottenham have a real shot at winning their first silver trophy since 2008.
Spurs may have fired a coach, Jose Mourinho, six days before they contested last season’s Carabao Cup Final against Manchester City.
But Antonio Conte, with six major titles over the past decade, would not receive the same treatment if Spurs on the way to Wembley again.
It was a sloppy, unconvincing and not particularly deserved victory in a quarter-final derby played in a frenzied atmosphere.
West Ham balanced play and were the much better team in the second half, but their season is going in reverse – largely due to a lack of manpower.
Conte’s side prevailed thanks to goals from Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura during a frantic first five minutes, which saw the Hammers equalize thanks to Jarrod Bowen.
Their squad may still lack elite quality in some areas but Conte has added serious intent to his new club.
David Moyes’ side are without Michail Antonio and Moyes is positive for Covid and Moyes has brought on a few weak young players – but they have acquitted themselves, snuffed out the home team’s support and will feel find their exit unjust.
While Spurs didn’t win a title in 14 years, West Ham failed to reach the grand final in 16.
So while this may not be their strongest squad available, both Conte and Moyes have certainly taken it seriously.
It was a remarkable achievement that helped Moyes’ side rank above Tottenham in the Premier League last season. They have also beaten Spurs in their last two meetings and came back from 3-0 to claim a draw on their most recent visit.
And The Hammers beat both Manchester clubs to get here – ending Man City’s four-year hold on the competition.
However, Conte has reinvigorated Spurs – they are five games unbeaten in the Premier League under the Italians – and now they have a semi-final to look forward to in the new year.
There was violence outside on the ground – and inside, the atmosphere was torrential, the football brutal.
Lucas Moura has a slick dribble from the speed diagonal to help Harry Kane hit the net of Alphonse Areola.
But it was generally untidy until five messy minutes produced three goals and two saves, and what felt like Tottenham’s appalling draw with Liverpool on Sunday.
Bergwijn, making his first appearance under Conte, made way for Pierre-Emerick Hojbjerg, who cut the back pass for the Dutch winger to score from close range against West Ham due to a foul static defense.
However, the Moyes boys were stirred by the immediate response.
Twice Nikola Vlasic made the cross, twice Tomas Soucek headed bravely and twice Hugo Lloris headed over the bar.
And then the equalizer was a personal nightmare for Eric Dier – who was once hailed by Conte as a potential world-class centre-back in his pre-match press conference.
Here he is nothing but, straight to Vlasic and then beaten up by Bowen, who has been judicious inside and out.
But two minutes later, Spurs regained the lead and this time Bergwijn was the initiator – a dash into the danger zone, followed by a squared pass for Moura to slam down the finish line under Areola.
Sergio Reguilon, in an offside position, appeared to thwart the Hammers keeper but got no word from referee Chris Kavanagh – VAR, who was unable to send Kane off in a terrifying save in the midfield. against Liverpool – and Stockley Park doesn’t mind the competition anyway.
Soucek was denied a equalizer immediately by Oliver Skipp’s save and Kane had a shot from across the corner that was deflected by Areola.
West Ham started the second half with a flat stance, pressing the pitch high and giving Spurs the lead.
Lloris advances to stop Bowen, impressing as a fake nine.
Conte responded by withdrawing both of his scorers and replacing them with Son Heung-Min and Harry Winks.
But it was West Ham who continued to make the most of the game – and one of Moyes’ substitutes Said Benrahma whistled a narrow shot from long distance.
Another sub, Andriy Yarmolenko had a deflected shot that was overturned by Lloris in stoppage time.
However, Spurs have a new resilience under Conte, something they lacked under Mourinho as well as Nuno Espirito Santo.
It was hard to get used to the idea of Spurs going in the opposite direction but they saw it, with minimal alarm, despite constant pressure from West Ham.
It would seem even stranger if they actually paraded a trophy around Wembley in February.
But that’s what Conte was brought here to do and now that Spurs have sniffed correctly, he won’t let that escape their nostrils.
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https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/17121384/tottenham2-west-ham-1-steven-bergwijn-efl-cup/ Bergwijn and Moura send Conte’s side into Carabao Cup semi-finals as Lloris makes a string of saves against the Hammers