'Massive' victory gives Pochettino renewed belief

Cardiff City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is beaten just three minutes into their Premier League home match against Tottenham. Striker Harry Kane got lucky when a clearance hit his leg and rebounded into goal.
Cardiff City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is beaten just three minutes into their Premier League home match against Tottenham. Striker Harry Kane got lucky when a clearance hit his leg and rebounded into goal.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • One feature of Mauricio Pochettino's reign is that his Tottenham side are never more dangerous than when they look like they are having fun.

They can grind out the tough results, they can play with the knife between their teeth, but the best Tottenham performances have a freewheeling quality about them, a collaborative joy, the whoosh that comes with the release of the pressure valve.

The Spurs manager admitted it was vital for his team to start the new year with a bang and record a "massive" victory at Cardiff that reignited their hopes of staying in the Premier League title race.

A convincing 3-0 win on Tuesday lifted Spurs to second and narrowed the gap between them and Liverpool (54 points) to six points, before the leaders clash with champions Manchester City (47) today.

Goals from Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min in just 26 minutes sealed a return to winning ways after a shock 3-1 home defeat by Wolves last Saturday.

"The Premier League is so tough. If you want to be in a good position, you must be consistent for the whole season and you can't afford to lose the three points like we did against Wolves," Pochettino said.

"I think it was a massive victory, a massive three points to make us believe that little more, in our possibility to be in a very good position in the table.

"I think it was so important to start the new year with a win, away from home, at a very difficult place.

"From the beginning today, we showed massive energy and that is the team we want, and expect to see to get a good performance."

Of the City-Reds clash, he said: "It will be an unbelievable game and, of course, I am going to enjoy football, too. Both teams are the best in England.

"The day after we are going to play (in the) FA Cup and we need to be ready again, because we have a very busy schedule."

Spurs, who are seeking their first piece of silverware since 2008, play fourth-tier side Tranmere in the third round of the FA Cup tomorrow, followed by the first leg of the League Cup semi-final against Chelsea next Tuesday.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2019, with the headline ''Massive' victory gives Pochettino renewed belief'. Print Edition | Subscribe