Mauricio Pochettino was proud of Tottenham’s mature performance in grinding out a 2-1 victory over Watford on Monday that sent his side third in the Premier League.
Son Heung-min’s 89th-minute strike earned Spurs the win against Quique Sanchez Flores’ team, who played the latter stages with 10 men after Nathan Ake was shown a red card for a high challenge on Erik Lamela.
Given Watford went into the meeting at Vicarage Road unbeaten in five games, including a 3-0 win over Liverpool and a 2-2 draw at Chelsea, Pochettino was delighted to have departed with all three points.
“I don’t know if it was the most important victory [of the season] but it’s true it was a fantastic victory because a few weeks ago Liverpool lost 3-0 here,” said the Tottenham boss.
“We managed the game on a very difficult pitch and with the way we play it was difficult. It wasn’t easy.
“But the maturity we showed – how we fought and our reaction – we should be proud of.”
In a change of tactics, Pochettino deployed Eric Dier at the centre of a three-man defence.
Tottenham’s seamless adaptation impressed Pochettino, but he was disappointed the 21-year-old allowed Odion Ighalo past him to cancel out Lamela’s opener before half-time.
“Normally we play with Eric as a holding midfielder but because they play with the long ball, I think it was a very good solution,” Pochettino continued.
“The only disappointing thing was the way we conceded because at 1-0 up at half-time, I think we could have killed game.”
Mousa Dembele was forced off before the interval following a recurrence of his foot injury, and Pochettino admitted he is unlikely to feature against Manchester City on Saturday.
“We don’t know, we need to wait and assess him. We hope it’s not a big issue, maybe one week or two weeks,” he added.
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