Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou says Richarlison is in a better place both physically and mentally after the Brazilian scored twice on his first start since pelvis surgery in Sunday's 4-1 win over Newcastle.
Heung-min Son moved to the left wing and created the first-half goals for Destiny Udogie and Richarlison, the Korean adding a fourth from the penalty spot late on after he was felled by Martin Dubravka.
Joelinton scored a stoppage-time consolation for Newcastle, who face AC Milan in a crunch Champions League game on Wednesday.
Richarlison revealed in September he would seek psychological help for difficulties on and off the pitch, and Postecoglou believes he is in a better place since going a minor operation last month.
"Richy was great, really important," Postecoglou said. "I thought him and Pape [Sarr] coming in gave us some real energy. We were going to need it with the midweek fixture and I thought they did that.
Richarlison grabs a BRACE to put Spurs 3-0 up! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/qKovWJ75oc
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 10, 2023
"Their general play was excellent but just their general energy was very good and obviously for Richy getting a couple of goals as a striker, that was positive for him.
"Richy was important to us at the start of the year too, but he wasn't fully fit. I think you could tell he was kind of restricted with his movements.
"At times we had to play him out wide just to get him through games. Since he's come back, it's fair to say he feels a lot better physically and I think that's helped him mentally as well. Great for him to get two goals, but it wasn't just his goals, it was his general work rate, energy and physicality."
After Thursday's deflating defeat to West Ham, a furious Postecoglou demanded his Spurs players show more "conviction" in the final third and they showed far more cutting edge against the Toon.
"I thought we were better in that area," the Australian said.
"I thought Sonny really set the tone for us early on. Whenever he got the ball he was really positive with it.
"That's what you need from leadership and I think the rest of the lads fed off that and we were a lot more threatening in that front third than we have been. I thought we got the goals we deserved and could have had a couple more at least. So yeah really pleased with that aspect."