Pochettino lauds Tottenham for turning the corner

Erik Lamela (left) celebrating scoring Tottenham's second goal with (from right) Lucas Moura, Harry Kane and Danny Rose. Spurs returned to winning ways against Brighton after three straight defeats.
Erik Lamela (left) celebrating scoring Tottenham's second goal with (from right) Lucas Moura, Harry Kane and Danny Rose. Spurs returned to winning ways against Brighton after three straight defeats.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino praised the mentality of his Tottenham side when they eked out a much-needed 2-1 Premier League win in sodden conditions at Brighton on Saturday to halt a run of three straight defeats.

Harry Kane ended a five-game goal drought from the spot and Erik Lamela doubled Spurs' lead before Anthony Knockaert pulled a late goal back for the home team.

"The players were suffering a lot. The pressure was high, they wanted to deliver a result for the fans, for themselves, and for us (the coaching staff)," said the Argentinian, who had been under pressure after losing three games on the bounce for the first time since becoming Spurs' manager in 2014.

"The spirit we showed today was the spirit I wanted to see in the other (previous) games. I'm so happy with the attitude, the spirit.

"We know very well we have great quality, great players and we can play amazing football."

While Spurs are six points adrift of league leaders Liverpool, Pochettino will hope the worst is over and he has reason for optimism after Kane became Spurs' joint-fifth highest scorer.

The England captain moved level with Jermain Defoe on 143 goals for the north London club, despite looking jaded in recent games from his World Cup exploits, with the Golden Boot winner leading the Three Lions to the semi-finals in Russia.

After hammering home his third goal of the season to become the league's most prolific spot-kick scorer in the last three years with 13 in 15 penalties converted, the striker said: "Today was about mentality, getting around the pitch, pressing high and harder and we did that. We could have put it to bed and won 3-0 or 4-0, but it's good to get back to winning ways. The gaffer will be pleased and we can build on this."

Pochettino had left defenders Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld at home for Tuesday's 2-1 defeat by Inter Milan in the Champions League. Both were recalled and the pair had a big impact.

Spurs took the lead three minutes before half-time, with referee Chris Kavanagh pointing to the spot after Glenn Murray blocked Trippier's free kick with his arm. Substitute Lamela then finished off a fine team move after the break for his second goal of the season.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2018, with the headline 'Pochettino lauds Tottenham for turning the corner'. Print Edition | Subscribe