Mauricio Pochettino felt his Tottenham side were worthy of their late winner against Newcastle before insisting he will not be cheering on rivals Arsenal when they meet fellow title hopefuls Manchester City on Sunday.
Son Heung-min struck with seven minutes remaining to secure a hard-fought 1-0 win for Spurs, who took full advantage of their Saturday kick-off to move up to second in the Premier League above City and just two points behind leaders Liverpool.
Tottenham toiled against a well-drilled Newcastle and had hit the crossbar through Erik Lamela and seen two Christian Eriksen efforts cleared off the line before Son’s late winner.
It followed a similar pattern to the midweek victory over Watford, where Fernando Llorente was the man to provide the late heroics, and Pochettino believes his side did enough to warrant all three points once more.
“I think we fully deserved the victory,” he said. “We dominated the game, we had the control. We were very patient.
“Newcastle were a very well organised team who played deep and didn’t give us much space, but I thought the positional game was good and we created some chances in the first half.
“Their belief increased and in the second half we conceded some chances, but I think our belief was also fantastic. At the end Son scored and the players deserve a lot of praise for a lot of effort.
“It was another massive effort from the squad and the team, I am more than happy, more than pleased. It is a fantastic result for us to be in a fantastic position in the table and I can feel very happy and very proud.”
While victory for Unai Emery’s Gunners at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday would mean Spurs remain above City in the table, Pochettino does not intend to cheer on Tottenham’s fierce local rivals as he sits down to watch the match.
“No. Why? Never,” Pochettino replied when asked if he would be cheering on Arsenal.
“I want to watch the game but I am not going to be part of one side or another. I am going to watch only and accept the result. I’m going to be happy with the result that they are going to have.”
Son provided the match-winning moment as his low strike somehow evaded Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka with less than seven minutes remaining.
After his exploits at the Asian Cup with South Korea in January, Son has started Tottenham’s last two games with the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli out injured.
Pochettino was again full of praise for the 26-year-old, who he compared to a long-life battery.
“He works so hard, he pushes and never gives up – he tries, tries, tries, tries,” Pochettino said.
“His effort, with or without the ball, is always very regular and consistent and that is the most important. Sonny is like a battery that you have – you work, work, work until the battery is gone.
“He is like this. He gives you everything and when he is exhausted he says he needs to rest. On the pitch he is always 100 per cent in every action.”
Newcastle went into the game having shocked Manchester City with a 2-1 victory in midweek and manager Rafael Benitez was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I have to give credit to my players for the great effort they made,” the Spaniard said.
“The way they were fighting for each ball, we have to improve a bit on the ball…credit to this group of players because they work so hard that maybe they deserve something more.”
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