Premier League: Dogged Spurs show guts for top-four fight

Ross McLean
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Christian Eriksen scored the winner as Tottenham moved to seventh in the Premier League

TOTTENHAM boss Mauricio Pochettino lauded his side’s character after they scored a last-gasp winner for the third time in four away matches to snatch victory over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium yesterday.

The late heroics of Denmark playmaker Christian Eriksen proved to be the match-winning contribution after the prolific Wilfried Bony had cancelled out Harry Kane’s early opener.

Victory moved Tottenham to seventh in the Premier League and four points shy of the Champions League places following a six-week period which has seen Pochettino’s mark on the Spurs team become increasingly evident.

“The character is very important, to show and fight in every action,” said Pochettino, whose Tottenham side are now one of four London clubs in the league’s top seven.

“We are playing the right way and when you arrive in a different club with different players you always need time to try and put your philosophy on the squad.

“I am happy with the players, we are showing the character we want and we got the reaction we want. We have a lot of good players and young talent and players like Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane are very important to us.”

Pochettino made nine changes to his line-up following Europa League defeat to Besiktas in midweek as Spurs balanced their post-European points tally which now stands at 12 from a possible 24.

England Under-21 forward Kane ended Tottenham’s three-game goal drought in the fourth minute, towering above Swansea full-back Angel Rangel to power a downward header beyond Swansea’s stand-in keeper Gerhard Tremmel.

Former Swansea full-back Ben Davies denied the persistently dangerous Bony with a last-ditch tackle, while a further attempt by the powerful Ivorian hitman was deflected wide by centre-half Federico Fazio.

Bony had his revenge three minutes after the break when he fired past keeper Hugo Lloris, on his 100th Spurs appearance, after the 26-year-old’s initial effort from Wayne Routledge’s cross had been blocked by Fazio.

Swansea turned up the heat in the second period with Jonjo Shelvey and Jefferson Montero going close as Kane’s glancing header from an Eriksen corner drifted narrowly wide of Tremmel’s right-hand post.

Eriksen served notice of his intentions by testing Tremmel moments before settling matters in dramatic style, collecting Davies’s pass following a poor Jazz Richards clearance and skidding a low shot beyond the German from the edge of the area.

“In the last few games we deserve more and didn’t score,” added Pochettino. “We deserved more in the first half but then we conceded a goal and Swansea pushed us. We defended deep and maybe Swansea played better in this period, but in the last ten minutes we were always alive.”