Football

Pochettino: Let's kick on from here

Spurs boss believes his red-hot side can catch Chelsea

Mauricio Pochettino has urged Tottenham to emulate last season's winter hot streak after their 4-1 demolition of 10-man Southampton yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Spurs beat Saints 2-0 in December last year and then won eight out of their next 10 matches to emerge as Leicester's closest title rivals.

They now travel to Watford on New Year's Day before hosting league leaders Chelsea, and Pochettino wants this win to spark another strong run.

"Yes why not? It's true the Premier League is very tough now and all the big clubs, the sides are fighting at the top," said Pochettino, whose team moved one point behind Arsenal in fourth.

"It is a completely different Premier League this year.

"For us, it's important. We had a very good year for us last season, 71 points and, towards the end, we were still fighting for big things."

Dele Alli's double, as well as goals from Harry Kane and Son Heung Min, were enough to see off the Saints, who had earlier taken the lead within just 73 seconds through Virgil van Dijk.

Spurs were leading 2-1 in the second half when referee Mike Dean sent Nathan Redmond off for deliberately denying Alli a scoring opportunity.

Redmond had stumbled into the back of Alli as he was about to shoot and, while Kane blazed the spot-kick over, Tottenham made their extra man count.

New rules introduced in April state a team need not be punished twice for accidental fouls but deliberate fouls - which include holding, pulling or pushing - still incur a red card.

Southampton manager Claude Puel lamented the double punishment of Redmond.

"It's harsh because he didn't want to make a fault, he just touched the player," said Puel.

"It is two players trying to win the ball. It is difficult to accept because, it changes the game. After, it was finished. Against a team with this quality, good possession and great players, it was difficult for us.

"We tried 10 against 11 and I praised the spirit of my players because they tried to find a solution."

Spurs were already in front when the penalty incident occurred and Pochettino believes his side were already on course for victory.

FAIR RESULT

"It was not a game-changing moment because we dominated the game and created a lot of chances," Pochettino said.

"We deserved more than Southampton. We played better, it's a very fair result."

Tottenham could be without three defenders against Watford. Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker will both miss the match through suspension after each collected their fifth yellow cards of the season.

Vertonghen may also face retrospective action after catching Jay Rodriguez in the face with his hand, although neither manager said they saw the incident.

Toby Alderweireld, meanwhile, is also struggling to be fit after missing the win over Southampton with an illness.

"We hope he will be available against Watford because today he was better," Pochettino said.

"He got a virus, was sick, vomiting and fever in the last two days. We hope he will be okay." - PA SPORT

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