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Spurs showed heart of champions - Pochettino

By AFP

Added 5th January 2017 08:13 AM

Chelsea were seeking to become the first team to win 14 successive English top-flight games in the same season, but Dele Alli's headed double condemned them to a 2-0 defeat on Wednesday.

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Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (L) and Tottenham Hotspur's English defender Kyle Walker applaud supporters after the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane in London, on January 4, 2017

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes his side showed the spirit required to win the Premier League title after they ended leaders Chelsea's 13-game winning run.

Chelsea were seeking to become the first team to win 14 successive English top-flight games in the same season, but Dele Alli's headed double condemned them to a 2-0 defeat on Wednesday.

Spurs climbed to third place in the table and although they trail Chelsea by seven points, Pochettino believes they are no longer the callow team who lost out to Leicester City in last season's title race.

"I think it was a little bit tough last season to explain why in the end we don't win the title or lift a trophy," he told reporters at White Hart Lane.

"In different games I think we missed being more competitive like it was today. For me, what it means to be competitive is like today. Work hard, but compete in this type of game.

"You need to play, to suffer, to fight. Sometimes you need to give possession to them because they push you and in that moment you need to work hard and be strong in your mind.

"We need to be pleased and proud because we understand what it means to be competitive when maybe you cannot play in the way you normally play."

It was Spurs' fifth successive victory and gave them a measure of revenge for the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in May last year that ended their title challenge.

Asked if Spurs were back in the title race, Pochettino said: "I think it was important for us to reduce the gap.

"Now the top four is very competitive. The gap still is important for Chelsea, but I think it was a perfect thing for us to arrive to third place and be close.

"That is important for us and it's a lot of games to arrive before the end of the season. A lot can happen in football."

Pochettino's decision to ape Chelsea's 3-4-3 system made for a cagey first half, but his side went ahead in stoppage time when Alli met Christian Eriksen's cross with a stunning header.

 

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