Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino threw down the gauntlet to Premier League title rivals Leicester after his side closed the gap on the leaders by dispatching bottom of the table Aston Villa.
Prolific hitman Harry Kane netted twice to take his Premier League tally for the season to 19 and move level with Leicester’s Jamie Vardy at the top of the goalscoring charts.
Victory returned second-placed Spurs to winning ways after taking just one point from their previous two league games and propelled the north London club to within two points of Leicester having played a fixture more.
The Foxes’ game in hand is against Newcastle on Monday and Pochettino has challenged fellow title novices Leicester to cope with the tension of a championship run-in.
“It keeps the pressure on Leicester,” said Pochettino. “It was very important to get the three points. We’re in a good position in the table and I think we fully deserved the result. We showed the right energy and mentality.
“We are in the race and our supporters have the right to dream.”
Pochettino also heaped praise on Kane, who has now scored 22 goals this term across all competitions and found the net 18 times in his last 21 Premier League appearances.
“He’s a great player and I’m very pleased for him,” added Pochettino. “He doesn’t only score, he works hard for the team, that’s why he is a very special player.”
Kane and playmaker Erik Lamela had already struck the Villa woodwork by the time the England forward rifled past goalkeeper Brad Guzan after latching onto a quickly taken Dele Alli free-kick on the stroke of half time.
The duo combined again three minutes after the restart as Alli broke clear down the left and provided a low cross which Kane turned high beyond Guzan.
Villa, who are nine points from safety, barely threatened although Rudy Gestede did smash an effort against the crossbar late on.