Belfast Telegraph

Win will spur us on in the fight to catch Chelsea: Pochettino

Tottenham 3 Everton 2

By Mark Critchley

Mauricio Pochettino hailed his Tottenham Hotspur side's belief after seeing them reduce Chelsea's lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points.

Harry Kane's brace looked to have put Tottenham in the driving seat against Everton yesterday lunchtime, but Romelu Lukaku struck late on to reduce the hosts' advantage.

Dele Alli restored the two-goal lead in stoppage time, only for the visitors' Enner Valencia to round off the scoring with virtually the last kick of the game.

Lukaku's strike forced Tottenham to tighten up and protect a lead which had not previously seemed under threat, and Pochettino believes the performance showed his players have the character to keep pressure on the league leaders and last the course.

"The most important is to show that we believe and today we showed that more than talk or speak," he said.

"It's better that the team showed that performance because they believe we need to be there. It's not up to us, of course, but it's up to us to be there if they [Chelsea] fail.

"The gap is seven points. I'd like to be closer than seven points but if you keep going in that way maybe we will achieve."

Chelsea travel to West Ham United, who knocked them out of this season's League Cup, for tonight's Monday night fixture.

Antonio Conte's side have shown little sign of giving ground to those chasing them, but Pochettino remains confident that his players can push them all the way, especially after recording a ninth consecutive home win.

It is the first time that Tottenham have achieved such a feat in the Premier League era.

"It's fantastic to make history with our supporters," said Pochettino. "The three points keep us in a very good position in the table. We keep working hard and we need to keep going."

Kane, meanwhile, admitted he should have notched a third hat-trick in four games.

"I wanted the match ball again," he said. "There was one in the first half I should have scored and one right at the end; I should have put my foot through it.

"I got two, but should have had the match ball."

Alli, who scored his 16th of the campaign, said: "They are a tough team to beat home and away.

"They hold a real threat but I thought we dominated the game until the last 10 minutes where we got a bit shaky, but all round it was a good performance from us.

"I think it's important we focus on ourselves and keep winning games. We can't get carried away in the league."

Everton manager Ronald Koeman admitted his side did not deserve to get anything out of the game, despite their late goals.

"We did some mistakes and if you make those kind, like the second and third goals, it was too easy," he said.

"We did well. We had some good counterattacks but needed more composure on the ball. We had the chance to get a point but it was not deserved."

TOTTENHAM: Lloris, Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Walker, Wanyama, Dembele (Winks, 78 mins), Davies, Eriksen (Sissoko, 87 mins), Alli, Kane (Janssen, 90 mins). Unused subs: Vorm, Trippier, Wimmer, Son.

EVERTON: Robles, Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry (McCarthy, 64 mins), Gueye (Valencia, 81 mins), Schneiderlin, Davies (Mirallas, 64 mins), Barkley, Lukaku. Unused subs: Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Holgate, Lookman

Man of the Match: Harry Kane

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Michael Oliver

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