Eye for the ball: Jermain Defoe led the way for Tottenham against Dinamo Tbilisi with a brace.
Tottenham Hotspur booked passage to the group stage of the Europa League on Thursday night with a 3-0 win over Dinamo Tbilisi sealing an 8-0 aggregate victory.
Jermain Defoe netted twice in the first half before Lewis Holtby scored his first goal for Tottenham after the interval.
The Premier League side were rarely troubled in the second leg, going about the job professionally in a performance they will regard as a decent warm-up for Sunday's North London derby.
Despite the lack of a serious test from an overwhelmed Tbilisi team, Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas will take away one or two things from the game.
Holtby made up for lost time against Dinamo Tbilisi with a display that paid no heed to the notion of the tie already being over.
After missing the entirety of Tottenham's preseason fixtures through injury, the midfielder will have been aware of the strong impression the new arrivals in his position have made in his absence.
Typically a hard worker, Holtby brought this ethic into playing a big part in maintaining Tottenham's tempo at a reasonable pace when it threatened to drop.
His assist for Jermain Defoe's opener and powerful long-range goal were in keeping with a performance that was as if he had not been away.
Inferior opposition played its part in Holtby settling back in so smoothly. Nonetheless, Villas-Boas was given a timely reminder of what the 22-year-old offers—graft and a resourcefulness that could prove invaluable down the line.
On a side note, Holtby's 'Klinsmann dive' goal celebration was a nice nod to a past Spurs great and a fellow German.
Roberto Soldado has begun his Tottenham career brightly, scoring four times in three matches. His new club will be optimistic it is just the beginning of a prolific campaign for the Spaniard.
Spurs will still need others to pitch in with goals, though. It was a welcome sight for the club then that Defoe opened his account for 2013/14 with a brace against Tbilisi.
The England international endured a tough finish to last season, adding just one goal to the 14 he scored prior to the turn of the year.
Villas-Boas' need for more goals from his team necessitated the signing of a proven goalscorer like Soldado.
Defoe will still likely be called upon to contribute at various points. Getting his range in at this early stage was a good start.
Villas-Boas' strong team selection to see off Dinamo Tbilisi just about confirmed his intention to take the Europa League seriously again this season.
In his notes in Tottenham's official matchday programme, he went into greater detail about these plans:
We showed last season that it was possible to play Thursday evening in the Europa League then Sundays in the Premier League and it is something we will certainly be taking forward again into this campaign. Our focus will be exactly the same.
We won many of our Premier League fixtures following our midweek European exploits and, in the end, we saw other English clubs following in this approach too.
This is a competition full of tradition and I have always considered it a major achievement to win such a trophy and I know the players feel the same way.
Optimistically for Spurs supporters, the squad the club is assembling looks capable of battling on at least a couple of fronts.
The players already mentioned in this article are evidence of the depth Spurs have, with neither Defoe nor Holtby having started prior to Thursday's match.
With further signings likely still to be made, the strength of the squad is only going to increase.
It had seemed apparent given their non-involvement in the season thus far, but the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor and Benoit Assou-Ekotto against Tbilisi all but confirmed their days at White Hart Lane are numbered.
Defoe was called in upfront as Soldado was rested, with Harry Kane also brought on in attack in the second half.
At left-back Kyle Naughton got the nod to cover for the rested Danny Rose. Later in the game, Naughton switched flanks and Zeki Fryers got his chance on the left.
Responding to inquiries from supporters on his Twitter account the popular Assou-Ekotto had confirmed he is not injured.
It appears both he and Adebayor have completely fallen out of favour with Villas-Boas. All that remains to be seen is if they leave Spurs before the transfer window shuts.
Holtby and Defoe.
Two league wins and comfortable navigation into the next phase of the Europa League—Tottenham could not have hoped for a much better start to the season.
Sunday brings their first major test when they take on North London rivals Arsenal.
The Gunners have convincingly got the better of Spurs the last two times the sides have met at the Emirates Stadium, winning both matches 5-2.
Unlike those two previous occasions, Spurs head across town fresh and in a decent vein of form.
The former is a virtue of the fixture taking place so early in the season. Coupled with their bright performances so far, it could prove to be an ideal time to take on Arsenal.
That is not a reflection on Arsene Wenger's side—they have bounced back well after their opening day loss to Aston Villa.
More a case that Spurs are heading into this game ready to contest it on merit alone.
It is a match that could well give us an idea of which team is in the better shape currently.
How important the result proves down the line will not become apparent for some time.