Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has urged his side to tighten their stranglehold on a Champions League place after returning to the top four with victory over Brighton.
Spurs enjoyed 75 per cent possession but had to graft for maximum points, which were secured by goals in each half from Serge Aurier – his first in English football – and the in-form Heung-min Son.
The win, coupled with underwhelming draws for Liverpool and Arsenal, saw Pochettino’s outfit move above those top-flight heavyweights, as well as Burnley, and into fourth place.
“It’s good to feel again that we are in the top four and it’s so important to keep this position now,” said Pochettino. “I think it’s fantastic for us, three victories in a row – it’s so important for us.
“The team deserved it and the win is important to believe and fight for the Premier League. We dominated the game. It’s not easy to play when the opponent play in that formation to try and only to stop you playing.”
Tottenham endured a frustrating opening half where the zest on show in their thrashing of Stoke at the weekend was missing. Son and Erik Lamela, who was making his first Spurs start for almost 14 months, missed their most presentable chances.
The tension was perforated five minutes before the break as full-back Aurier’s cross, which was directed towards the head of striker Harry Kane, evaded everyone including Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan and looped into the net.
Brighton were resolute and organised as they attempted to avoid a sixth successive top-flight defeat but did not overly trouble their hosts in an attacking sense and failed to conjure a leveller.
Moments after England frontman Kane had struck the post with a free-kick, Tottenham settled matters in the 87th minute as Son stooped to head his fourth goal in as many matches beyond Ryan from a Christian Eriksen free-kick.