Pochettino hails Tottenham 'heroes' after fourth straight league win
Mauricio Pochettino described his players as "heroes" after their 3-1 defeat of Leicester City provided a fourth straight Premier League win.
Goals from Davinson Sanchez, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min secured the three points for the home side at Wembley, despite a consolation from Jamie Vardy, who missed a penalty when the score was 1-0 to Spurs.
Leicester had 20 shots to Spurs' 12 and were guilty of missing several chances through James Maddison and Harvey Barnes, while Vardy's spot-kick was saved by Hugo Lloris just three minutes before Eriksen made it 2-0.
With Harry Kane and Dele Alli still out injured and no new signings made in January, Pochettino thinks his players deserve huge credit for a run of form that has kept them within five points of first place.
"I feel very proud," he told Sky Sports. "[It was] a fantastic result, fantastic spirit until the end. Leicester played so well. I think if you want to fight for big things, you need a little bit of luck and it was for our side, but we deserved it.
20 - Tottenham Hotspur have won 20 league games this season – only in their top-flight title winning campaign of 1960-61 have they ever won more after their first 26 matches of a season (22). Relentless. pic.twitter.com/4HA4HjYcgk— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 10, 2019
"In the circumstances, my players are heroes. The effort is amazing. With all the circumstances, again, we are there, we are fighting, showing great character. Sometimes, like this afternoon, it wasn't out best performance, but I think the team is doing fantastic."
Pochettino was particularly pleased with Lloris, who made nine saves throughout the match.
"He's one of the best keepers in the world," he said. "He showed it at the World Cup, lifting the trophy, and he showed it in five, six years here. He was key, but when you need this type of performance from your top player, they were there. I think he's going to feel amazing now."
Leicester boss Claude Puel was left frustrated as his side failed to make the most of their opportunities, but he did not pin any blame on substitute Vardy, who missed the penalty with his first touch of the ball.
"I think it's difficult," he said. "[There are] a lot of regrets. It was a game in our hands, and we had a lot of chances and created a lot of good moves. We didn't find the good finish.
"We had all the opportunities to win the game. It's encouraging to play this way and put this quality on the pitch. But there are regrets after all these chances.
"I said to Jamie Vardy he can take the penalty. All the game we had a lot of chances."