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English Premiership

Spurs late-show character hailed by Pochettino

Tottenham Hotspur’s manager Mauricio Pochettino instructs to his players from the touchline during an English Premier League match in Stoke-on-Trent, on September 10, 2016

SWANSEA, United Kingdom, Apr 6 – Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino praised his team’s “big character” in scoring three late goals to beat Swansea 3-1 and keep alive their Premier League title hopes on Wednesday.

Goals in the final 10 minutes from Dele Alli, Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen kept them seven points behind leaders Chelsea — who beat Manchester City 2-1 on Wednesday — but they are now the only realistic challenger.

Swansea had looked to be on course to gain three crucial points towards preserving their elite status having led from the 11th minute courtesy of a rare goal from Wayne Routledge.

“We won because we kept going and showed great faith, belief and spirit,” said Pochettino.

“It was a very difficult game for us. We always knew it would be.

“We had control of the game and we showed patience. In the we got the victory our performance deeserved.

“In the last 15 or 20 minutes we pushed them deeper and deeper. But the most important thing is that we never gave up.

“To create that winning mentality is about showing big character. But you need time to achieve that.”

The Argentinian said the players showed they had learned from the painful experiences last season when they were the closest challengers to Leicester but lost their way towards the end of the campaign.

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“It is true that we needed to learn from last season,” said the former Espanyol and Southampton manager.

“That was one of the good things from today. Maybe last season, we wouldn’t have won that game from that position. But we have got the three points because we believed.

“There were times when in my mind, I thought it was going to be tough to win the game. However, when you are on the bench, you must have confidence and trust in your players.

“Yes, it was a massive moment when Son scored. The fact that we had turned things around was huge for us. It was unbelievable. In that moment, we realised how fantastic the three points was going to be.

“I believe that we can win every game that we play between now and the end of the season and then we will see.”

For his Swansea counterpart Paul Clement it was a bitter pill to swallow as their defeat sees them slip into the bottom three, two points off Hull, who are now fourth from bottom after a 4-2 home victory over Middlesbrough on Wednesday.

“It’s a result that is very tough to take for me, the players and the fans,” said Clement.

“The fact that we came out of the game with nothing, is pretty heartbreaking, to be honest.

“Moving on, I think we all need to be encouraged by our performance for a lot of that game. We now need to go again and learn from this.”

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