Tottenham showing mental strength with vital late goals
Tottenham face Leicester live on Sky Sports Premier League from 12.30pm on Super Sunday.
By Nick Wright
Last Updated: 10/02/19 11:20am
Will Tottenham put on another late show against Leicester on Super Sunday?
Mauricio Pochettino's side have recovered from the disappointment of Carabao and FA Cup elimination with late wins over Watford and Newcastle in the Premier League, allowing them to keep in touch with Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the table.
The late heroics are nothing new. Tottenham have been regarded as mentally weak in the past, but this season has provided more evidence that they have toughened up under Pochettino. Since November, there have been seven late shows for Spurs fans to savour…
Spurs 2-1 PSV: Kane at the double
Tottenham's late comeback against PSV Eindhoven in early November kept their Champions League campaign alive but did it also spark something bigger?
Pochettino's side seemed to be down and out as they approached the final 10 minutes at Wembley trailing to Luuk De Jong's early header, but Harry Kane equalised with a low strike in the 78th minute before nodding home the winning goal in the penultimate minute of normal time.
The victory moved Spurs to within three points of second-placed Inter Milan in Group B with two games to play. What's happened since suggests it also gave them an important injection of belief…
Spurs 1-0 Inter Milan: Eriksen to the rescue
Tottenham went into their meeting with Inter Milan in late November knowing nothing less than a victory would do in order to keep their hopes of reaching the last-16 alive.
The game was poised at 0-0 as the clock ticked towards the final whistle, but the breakthrough arrived courtesy of Christian Eriksen. The Dane, a second-half substitute at Wembley, finished off a move involving Lucas Moura and Dele Alli in the 80th minute to spark wild celebrations at Wembley.
Barcelona 1-1 Spurs: 'Mission impossible' achieved
Tottenham sealed their qualification to the last-16 in unforgettable style, as Lucas Moura converted from Harry Kane's low cross, cancelling out Ousmane Dembele's early equaliser and ensuring Spurs matched Inter's result against PSV, putting them through as Group B runners-up.
Spurs were helped by their already-qualified opponents fielding a rotated side, but the draw capped a hugely impressive Champions League turnaround. They became only the eighth side in the history of the competition to qualify from the group stage having only claimed one point from their first three games.
"This is a massive, massive achievement for the club," said Pochettino afterwards.
Spurs 1-0 Burnley: Eriksen strikes again
Just four days after that energy-sapping draw at the Camp Nou in December, Spurs pulled off more late heroics, with Eriksen smashing home a stoppage-time winner over Burnley as they followed up their Champions League qualification with a third-consecutive Premier League win.
The victory allowed Spurs to keep in touch with Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the table and also underlined their growing sense of belief and perseverance.
"After the Barcelona game and qualifying for the next stage of the Champions League, it is difficult to find the way to perform like this," he said. "Today I congratulate my players' effort and the fans. It was a late victory but so important for us."
Fulham 1-2 Spurs: Winks steps up
Tottenham were already without Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son when Dele Alli was forced off with a hamstring injury against Fulham last month, but they still found a way to win at Craven Cottage, with Harry Winks heading home Georges-Kevin N'Koudou's cross in the final seconds of the game.
A draw would have left Spurs looking over their shoulders in the top-four race. Instead, they kept in touch with second-placed Manchester City.
Once again, Pochettino talked about the importance of belief in his post-match press conference. "Sometimes in football, it is not tactics or formation - you have to believe," he said. "It was an unbelievable finish. That's why it is so important to believe."
Spurs 2-1 Watford: Llorente the hero
It seemed Tottenham's season may be threatening to slip away from them as they crashed out of the Carabao and FA Cups in quick succession to a backdrop of mounting injury problems, but once again they staged a rousing comeback when they needed it most.
Pochettino's side were trailing to Craig Cathcart's first-half goal at a sparsely-populated Wembley, but the fans who braved the cold were rewarded as Son (80) and Llorente (87) allowed Spurs to complete another dramatic fightback and keep them in touch with the top two.
Spurs 1-0 Newcastle: Son shines again
Son played a key role in the Watford win and he came to Tottenham's rescue again just a few days later against Newcastle. The South Korean, back early from the Asian Cup following his country's shock defeat to Qatar in the quarter-final, struck the winning goal with just seven minutes to play at Wembley.
Pochettino compared Son to a "battery" afterwards -and it seems he's not the only Spurs player with the energy to go the distance. The question now is whether they can keep the momentum going against Leicester. If time is running out and they need a goal, you wouldn't bet against them.