Spurs' inspirational win keeps their chase alive

Left: Tottenham's Son Heung Min celebrating with Dele Alli after putting his side ahead in added time against Swansea City.
Tottenham's Son Heung Min celebrating with Dele Alli after putting his side ahead in added time against Swansea City.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Tottenham Hotspur have the chance to exert psychological pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea when they open the weekend programme at home to Watford tomorrow.

An 11th consecutive home league victory would cut Chelsea's lead to four points before Antonio Conte's side play away at Bournemouth in the day's late game.

It seemed Tottenham had blown any chance of reeling in Chelsea when they trailed Swansea City 1-0 in the 88th minute on Wednesday.

But an extraordinary late burst earned them a 3-1 win that kept Chelsea in their sights.

Their fifth consecutive victory maintained the seven-point gap and means Mauricio Pochettino's side have amassed 29 points since the turn of the year - more than any other side.

While Chelsea's gritty 2-1 victory over Manchester City means it appears to be their title to lose, Tottenham are clearly revelling in the chase, as they did last season in the futile pursuit of Leicester City.

"I believe that we can win every game if we play like we did against Swansea - and then we'll see," said Pochettino, whose side host Bournemouth on April 15. "We're still pushing, believing, pressuring Chelsea. It's important we are showing we learnt from last season."

On Wednesday, Dele Alli, Son Heung Min and Christian Eriksen sealed what may yet prove to be a vital three points with goals in the last few minutes as Spurs left it late to reply to Wayne Routledge's first-half opener.

If the mark of a great team is how they respond to adversity, this was some statement.

"How we turned that result is unbelievable," Pochettino said.

Tottenham's win was also a fine riposte to the Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who suggested this week that Tottenham lack the winning mentality found inside the Stamford Bridge dressing room.

Chelsea remain overwhelming favourites in the title race, but Pochettino's manic celebrations in front of the away end at full time showed he is up for the fight.

"I respect Antonio Conte very much. I didn't hear him say that, but it's true if you compare us with Chelsea in the last 10 years, Chelsea have won titles and we haven't," Pochettino said.

"To create the winning mentality you need this type of game, belief, and you need time. It's important to show that we learnt, because maybe last season this was a game we would've lost."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2017, with the headline 'Spurs' inspirational win keeps their chase alive'. Print Edition | Subscribe