Mauricio Pochettino hailed Harry Kane for the two late goals that earned Tottenham Hotspur a 3-2 London derby win at home to West Ham.
Kane struck with a minute to go at White Hart Lane on Saturday before converting a penalty 160 seconds later as Spurs maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign.
It was also Tottenham’s first win since beating Manchester City on October 2, at a time when England striker Kane was injured.
Kane had also scored on his comeback in the 1-1 draw at Arsenal before the international break and confirmed his status as Tottenham’s main goal supply in this derby.
“He is back,” said Tottenham manager Pochettino of Kane. “For me, he is one of the best strikers in the world. He is a player who is very important for us.
“It was fantastic to see Harry Kane score again.”
West Ham, who remain a single point and place above the relegation zone, twice took the lead before Kane sunk them and, to make matters worse, defender Winston Reid was sent off in stoppage time.
– ‘Character’ –
Michail Antonio’s header gave the Hammers a half-time lead and, after Harry Winks had marked his first Premier League start with a Tottenham equaliser, Manuel Lanzini’s penalty restored the advantage.
Tottenham, who remain fifth, were not to be denied however.
“People expect a lot from us, that we will play well, score goals and win the games,” Pochettino said.
“But there is no team that can keep to the same level for 10 months,” the Argentinian added.
“Today we were better, that’s the truth – we were better than West Ham. One team deserved to win the game at the end and that was Tottenham, no doubt, but maybe we can play better.
“I don’t know if I can say we are happy with the performance but we showed character today. Maybe it wasn’t our best game but sometimes it is difficult an aggressive team with a good plan.”
Tottenham’s penalty was won by substitute Son Heung-Min, whose cross had set up Kane for the equaliser. The Korean tricked Havard Nordtveit into tripping him with the final whistle just seconds away.
“You can imagine how difficult it is to take this kind of defeat, in the lead with four minutes to go,” said West Ham manager Slaven Bilic. “It looked good for us.
“We had good opportunities to kill the game off. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be.”
Bilic added he had no complaints about the incident that led to Tottenham’s winning goal.
“It was a clever move from Son,” he said. “Our player slides and Son was waiting for the contact.”
West Ham now face Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the Premier League, and United again in the EFL Cup but Bilic remained optimistic.
“We showed today we can play,” he said. “We can play good no matter who we are playing. It’s a tough schedule. There are a lot of positives before these games. We don’t have to be afraid of any of them.” – Agence France-Presse