Llorente treble impresses Pochettino
Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino hopes an FA Cup hat-trick will help Fernando Llorente make a major contribution for his side in the closing months of the season.
The 33-year-old Spain international striker has struggled to make much of an impact since his arrival from Swansea City last summer, with Llorente having to play second fiddle to Harry Kane for a majority of the campaign.
I hope the hat-trick makes him feel more free, more natural, to become an important player until the end of the season.Mauricio Pochettino
However, handed a start for the FA Cup fifth round replay with Rochdale, Llorente made the most of the opportunity by completing a treble in a 6-1 win, more than doubling his tally for the season as a whole.
And Pochettino hopes to see his player enjoy a confidence boost from his performance at Wembley, with Spurs facing a crucial period as they chase a top-four finish in the Premier League, as well as FA Cup and Champions League glory.
He told reporters: "I am so happy for him. Of course it was difficult for him to adapt and I hope the hat-trick makes him feel more free, more natural, to become an important player until the end of the season.
"I'm very pleased for him and very pleased for the team. For a striker, it's so important to feel the net."
Spurs face a trip to Llorente's former club Swansea City in the sixth round of the FA Cup, with the Welsh side having also needed a replay to overcome Sheffield Wednesday.
Tottenham are now 12121/1 to lift the FA Cup this season, with Chelsea available at 4/5 and Manchester United 1/1.
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