Mauricio Pochettino has hailed Tottenham Hotspur's passion to secure a "nearly perfect" 2-0 victory over Manchester City on Sunday (2 October). Meanwhile, the Argentinian boss played down an argument between Erik Lamela and Son Heung-min over who should take a penalty earlier in the second half.
Spurs dominated from the start to secure a comfortable 2-0 victory over the Premier League leaders to move second in the table. Aleksandar Koravov's own goal gave Tottenham the lead before Dele Alli scored the second goal of the game to inflict City their first defeat since the summer arrival of Pep Guardiola.
"The performance was nearly perfect. To play a great team like Manchester City, you need to do a fantastic job. For that, I'm very proud of our players work," Pochettino said after the game as quoted by ESPN. "Today, collectively, we worked very hard – all the players were fantastic on the pitch.
Pochettino refused to speak about Tottenham credentials to win the Premier League this term. Yet, the boss praised how his players had reacted to the disappointing Champions League defeat to Monaco earlier in the season to get back on track and win their last five games in all competitions.
"That is our challenge. I told you after Monaco that I was very disappointed – not by the performance but with the lack of passion. Today, I talked about that before – 'you can win or lose but don't regret anything or anything you show on the pitch.'
"That is the attitude we need to keep. It's too early to talk about aims but it's important to be consistent. If we can play like this, why not be consistent for the whole season? I know it's a big effort but that is the way we want to work and play. Today was a good example that we want to follow to build our project."
Erik Lamela could have added a third goal earlier in the second-half but Claudio Bravo saved his penalty. The mistake came after the Argentinian playmaker appeared to rip the ball out of the hands of Son, as regular penalty taker Harry Kane was out due to injury.
Pochettino played down the incident, claiming that it's positive that both players had the determination to shoot.
"Lamela, Sonny, [Christian] Eriksen. ... At the moment, it's who feels better to shoot. Two players wanted to shoot. That's always better than nobody wanting the ball. They decided to be brave," he explained. "Maybe the next one if Son is on, and Lamela too, maybe he says 'now you give me the ball.' The only one who shoots can miss the penalty. If Sonny missed, not Lamela, we talk in the same way. There's no issue.
"When we prepared for the game, two, three, four players can take [penalties]. Harry Kane is the first and then we pick a two, a three. But different things can happen on the pitch and the players can say 'I'm confident' and then discuss. They are allowed to discuss and then take the decision. It's difficult from the touchline because they're fighting and I cannot run to the middle of the pitch and say 'no you.'"