Pochettino’s Tottenham ‘have belief’
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Manager hails fightback at Swansea
Mauricio Pochettino hailed the “winning mentality” of his Tottenham players after their remarkable 3-1 victory at Swansea kept the pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Spurs’ title race looked run as they trailed Swansea 1-0 in to the 88th minute of a full-blooded Liberty Stadium contest.
But Dele Alli equalised with his 15th league goal of the season, and then Heung-min Son and Christian Eriksen struck in injury time to keep second-placed Spurs within seven points of Chelsea.
Victory was all the more impressive as Spurs were without regulars Harry Kane, Danny Rose and Victor Wanyama through injury, while goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was also missing after falling ill at the team hotel at lunchtime.
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“If you compare Chelsea and Tottenham over the last 10 years, it is true Chelsea won more titles,” said Pochettino.
“But to create that winning mentality it is about this type of game. Belief, show big character, you need time, but I think we are in a good way.
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“We believe and never give up, we always try and we were always pushing.”
Spurs were champions Leicester’s closest challengers last term before fading in the final weeks of the campaign.
They eventually finished third with Arsenal beating them to second place on the final day, but Pochettino feels his side have learned from that bitter experience.
“It’s important to show that we‘ve learned from last season and that is a good thing,” he added.
“Maybe that is a game we would have lost last season.”
Asked if he believed if Spurs could catch Chelsea - who beat Manchester City 2-1 on Wednesday - Pochettino replied: “I believe that we can win every game if we play like today and then we’ll see.
“It’s important to go game by game and be focusing on our opponent, and on ourselves. Today was another example football is a collective matter.
“It was a massive moment (when Son scored to put Spurs 2-1 ahead) because how we turned it around was unbelievable.
“We’re still pushing, believing, pressuring the opponent (Chelsea).
“It means a lot. We realised the three points would be fantastic for us. From the touchline, you must translate confidence, trust and belief.
“We allowed them to believe because we conceded a goal, but the most important thing for us was to show collective faith and spirit.”
Swansea’s defeat saw them plunge into the relegation zone as Hull leapfrogged them by beating Middlesbrough 4-2.
They are now two points from safety with seven games remaining, and their next two matches are at West Ham and Watford.
“It’s a result that’s very tough to take for me, the players, the fans,” Swansea head coach Paul Clement said.
“The goal gave us a lot of belief and we defended well against a very good, technical defensive side.
“It’s heart-breaking that we’ve come out with nothing, but things are very tight still.
“We have to be encouraged by our performance for long periods of the game. They put in a good physical effort and we have to be professional.
“We have to deal with defeat and go again on Saturday.”