Son Heung-min has found the back of the net for the seventh time in the Premier League this season, pushing the undefeated Tottenham Hotspur back to the top of the tables.
The South Korean talisman scored a goal and registered an assist in Tottenham's 2-0 win over Fulham at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Monday. It stretched Spurs' undefeated streak to begin this season to nine matches, at seven wins and two draws.
With 23 points, Spurs moved back to the top of the league tables, two points ahead of Manchester City.
Son helped Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou make history, too, giving him the best-ever start by a Premier League bench boss in the first nine matches. The previous record had been 22 points, jointly held by Mike Walker (Norwich in 1992) and Guus Hiddink (Chelsea in 2009).
Son now sits tied for second place in goals this season with Mohamed Salah of Liverpool, with whom Son shared the Golden Boot as the league's top scorer in 2021-2022 campaign. Erling Haaland of Manchester City leads the way with nine goals in a bid to win his second consecutive Golden Boot.
James Maddison set up Son for a fourth-minute shot stopped by Bernd Leno, as Spurs applied some early pressure on Fulham. Son broke the deadlock in the 36th minute, when he took a pass from Richarlison and sidestepped defender Tim Ream before curling a strike past Leno.
Son assisted on Maddison's goal nine minutes after the restart for his first helper of the season.
Son dedicated the victory to Spurs faithful.
"Monday night, 65,000 fans ... we just want to make them happy and put a smile on their face," he said. "We wanted to have a fast start, which is what we did. We could have scored probably three more goals. Everyone worked really hard to get this victory."
Spurs have been a surprise team so far, leading the league despite losing high-scoring forward Harry Kane to Bayern Munich over the summer. Son said the remaining players have tried to step up and fill that void collectively.
"I think we all worked hard from the preseason. We wanted to improve from last season," he said in a postmatch interview. "When you have the best player on your team leave, everyone has to take responsibility and has to step up. We're sticking together, and it brings more positive energy to the club. The way we play, it's like family. When somebody is tired, somebody else will come in and do the job for others."
With the next match set for Friday at Crystal Palace, Son said there was little time for Spurs to celebrate.
"We have to stay humble," he said. "Our fans can celebrate the whole week. As players, we have to make sure we're ready for Friday night and make another happy day."
Son has been playing as the lone striker more often than in the seasons past. He said he is leaning on his past experience of playing that position in Germany earlier in his career.
"When we play, I want to go higher up and press the keeper all the time. I love to do that. It suits me perfectly," he said. "In the wide area, there are more quality players than me. I just have to wait for chances and have to finish them. They make my job really easy. I am happy to play any position. If the coach needs me to play full back, I'd play full back." (Yonhap)