Alan Pardew says Tottenham are as good as any Premier League team when they are in possession but believes they can tighten up off the ball.
Spurs on Saturday secured a 3-1 victory at Pardew’s Crystal Palace despite falling behind to Jan Vertonghen’s first-half own goal.
They recovered through Dele Alli volleying potentially the goal of the season after Harry Kane’s header had made the score 1-1, before in stoppage time substitute Nacer Chadli curled in their third from midfield.
Spurs’ win and Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat by Southampton gives Mauricio Pochettino’s fourth-placed team a five-point advantage in their pursuit of Champions League qualification and further enhances his reputation as a promising manager.
A trademark of Pochettino’s teams is their intense pressing without the ball, however, Pardew revealed it was in possession that they most impressed him and that without it is when they displayed a weakness.
“They have a lot of attributes,” the Palace manager said. “The two centre-halves (Toby Alderweireld and Vertonghen) being so natural on the ball.
“I watched them both at Ajax many years ago, it feels like 20 years ago but it was probably only about six.
“They rotate the ball well, and in possession they’re as good as any team we’ve played. Out of possession maybe that’s where they just need to tighten up a little bit.
“We had some chances that maybe they would like to think they can eradicate, but they’re a good side, a very good side.”
After his recent inconsistent form, Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey impressed and was overshadowed only by Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris producing a collection of world-class saves, but his manager praised both and expressed his satisfaction at Hennessey’s performance.
“You need to see your goalie, when he’s under pressure, respond,” Pardew said. “His kicking and everything was on the money.
“Both goalies were outstanding, and certainly Lloris at key moments, particularly (the outstanding save from Wilfried Zaha’s shot, at 1-1), it’s those moments that change games, that was as good as a goal for Spurs.”