Mauricio Pochettino praised Tottenham for dealing with pressure applied by Premier League leaders Leicester City after his side dispatched Manchester United 3-0.
Tottenham headed into the White Hart Lane clash – delayed by half an hour due to United’s team bus getting stuck in traffic – trailing Leicester by 10 points after Claudio Ranieri’s side beat struggling Sunderland 2-0 earlier on Sunday.
But goals from Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela inside a frantic six-minute period during the second half secured a first win over United on home turf for 15 years and means Spurs head into the final five games of the season with a seven-point deficit to claw back.
“It was fantastic. The first half was difficult, I think 50-50, but second half we played much better,” Pochettino told his post-match news conference.
“I feel very proud, full credit to our players for a fantastic performance, and we are still fighting.
“Always belief, focus and concentration are important in football. I think it was a fantastic performance against a team that was difficult in history to beat.
“I think it was important for our fans after 15 years to enjoy this type of game.”
Having seen Jamie Vardy’s brace secured a fifth straight win for Leicester beforehand, Pochettino added: “It was hard because always you [hope for] a different result but I think Leicester showed big character and personality and a good performance.
“I think they fully deserved the result but it was important for us to show character, personality and maturity after the Leicester game.
“We moved one step forward, it was a new experience for this young squad to play with pressure and try to reduce the gap.
“It’s true that we showed a message that we are there waiting and fighting if they fail. We need to stay there.
“Seven points is a difficult gap to reduce but we need to believe. And the performance and the result shows that this team believes.
“What will happen at the end we will see, but we have to keep this mentality.”
Pochettino owned up to the embarrassment of having been away from the dugout for Lamela’s nicely taken third due to an ill-timed toilet break.
“[I missed the goal] live, yes,” he chuckled. “I watched it on the TV because I just left my toilet in the managers’ room and listened to the crowd.
“I was quick to run to the changing room, trying to stay calm in this moment, and watched the replay.”
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