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TOTTENHAM 7 SOUTHAMPTON 2

TOTTENHAM blitzed Southampton 7-2 in a feast of goals at White Hart Lane, as Glenn Hoddle`s return to his former club rapidly became an embarrassing ordeal for the ex-England coach.

Steffen Iversen claimed a hat-trick and Chris Armstrong netted twice, although, incredibly, the visitors twice led in the first half.

Norwegian Jo Tessem opened the scoring on 26 minutes, as he latched onto a Hassan Kachloul pass to fire past Ian Walker. Spurs responded immediately when Dean Richards put through his own net, under pressure from Sol Campbell.

Marian Pahars went close for The Saints before Tahar El Khalej marked his debut with a goal on 33 minutes, to put Hoddle`s men back into the lead.

Darren Anderton, jeered by the visiting fans due to his Portsmouth links, stabbed home from close range during a goalmouth scramble to level matters again, and Chris Armstrong atoned for an atrocious earlier miss by smashing Spurs into the lead, four minutes before the interval.

There was still time for Iversen to become the second Norwegian to hit the net, moments before the half time whistle, to hit the sixth goal of an extraordinary first period.

Awful defending allowed Stephen Carr`s cross to be converted by Armstrong for number five as the second half saw Spurs establish a firm grip on the proceedings.

David Ginola helped carve out another opening, which was taken with relish by top scorer Iversen, and the 23-year-old completed his hat-trick in the 90th minute to stun the shattered Saints.

The goal extravaganza was all the more remarkable in the wake of the striking problems that have plagued Spurs all season, none more so than against Bradford, last week.

"It was an event that was definitely coming," claimed George Graham. "Football picks you up when you do well, and drops you down when something negative happens.

"The players have taken a lot of criticism, but their attitude on the training pitch has been first class."

Hoddle complained: "I`ve never seen 45 minutes like that, I couldn`t believe what I was seeing. We gave them the game.

"I thought our new man was magnificent, but things seemed to go against us, in a short period of time, and it left me scratching my head. Defending like that will get us relegated, unless we improve on it. It`s a hard lesson today but we must learn from it."

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