Mauricio Pochettino paid tribute to Danny Rose after his goal earned Tottenham a vital win over Swansea despite Lukasz Fabianski’s heroics.
Rose scored the winner as Pochettino’s side came from behind to beat Swansea 2-1 at White Hart Lane, a victory that reduces the gap between Spurs and league leaders Leicester back to two points.
For a long time it looked like Swansea would pull off a surprise win in north London as Alberto Paloschi gave the visitors a surprise early lead and then Lukasz Fabianski frustrated Tottenham with a number of excellent saves.
Substitute Nacer Chadli, however, equalised in the 70th minute and seven minutes later Rose drove a loose ball home to keep his team’s title charge on track.
The 25-year-old has enjoyed an impressive season under Pochettino but his Spurs future was far from certain when the Argentinian arrived, after the new head coach made fellow left-back Ben Davies one of his first signings in the summer of 2014.
“We arrived 21 months ago and the first meeting I have with a Tottenham player was with him,” Pochettino said.
“They were on holiday and I called him to come to my office. I was happy and pleased to give him the opportunity to stay here and work with us.
“It is true we are very happy with him showing quality and helping the team.
“It was maybe difficult from the beginning when we arrived but I am very happy for him. The crowd were singing his name.
“When any manager arrives at a new club always the player needs to know the idea.
“My idea was from the beginning to give him the chance to show he has enough quality to play for Tottenham.”
Spurs had 34 shots, 14 of them on target, against Swansea and the relief was palpable when Chadli finally turned home Kyle Walker’s shot across goal with 20 minutes left.
Pochettino cut a frustrated figure as Fabianski continued to defy his players’ assault on the Swansea goal but the Tottenham boss was as pleased as anyone when Chadli and then Rose found the net.
“During the whole game we shot more than 30 times and maybe 15 or 16 on target,” Pochettino said.
“Maybe it was a record for the Premier League. Fabianski was fantastic and it looked like it would be impossible to score.
“For that you get upset, disappointed, frustrated a little bit but when we scored the second goal you feel freedom in this moment.”
Tottenham have overcome their first of three games in six days but the tougher tests are to follow with West Ham and Arsenal to come on Wednesday and Saturday.
Harry Kane played with a face mask against the Swans, despite breaking his nose last weekend, but Dele Alli may need to be assessed after kicking his foot into the ground during the warm-up.
Alli appeared uninhibited as he played the whole 90 minutes but the midfielder was seen hobbling heavily as he left the stadium after the match.
“It’s easier to prepare for the West Ham game after this victory,” Pochettino added.
“They (the players) are happy, they smile, it is always a better mood to recover.
“It is an exciting moment for us but some players we need to manage because some players feel a little bit tired. We came from a very tough period.”