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Spurs pushing on: Coach hails tired players for their 'fantastic effort'

Sports | Apr 25, 2019
Mauricio Pochettino admits his tired Tottenham stars are pushing themselves to their limits after Christian Eriksen's superb late strike sealed a hard-fought 1-0 win over struggling Brighton.

Pochettino's third-placed side dominated from start to finish at home, but a combination of brave Brighton defending and poor finishing kept the English Premier League match in the balance until the 88th minute.

Eriksen finally ended Brighton's stubborn resistance with a sensational long-range drive that lifted Spurs three points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea and four ahead of Arsenal in fifth.

"The team are not as fresh as we wanted, not just legs, but minds, so we have to congratulate the players. I'm so proud of them," said Pochettino. "Brighton were a really brave opponent. The most important thing is we believed, we didn't give up."

The result was vital to Spurs' bid to qualify for next season's Champions League via a top- four finish.

Tottenham have now won all four games in all competitions at their plush new arena, scoring eight goals without reply. But the hosts looked hamstrung without injured striker Harry Kane until Eriksen came to the rescue with his ninth goal of the season.

But Pochettino was delighted with the way his players kept plugging away right to the end despite the draining effects of their hectic fixture list.

"There were more than 20 attempts and the reward is massive," he said. "It is three very important points and to be in a good position in the table."

Tottenham can take another step towards securing their top-four berth in Saturday's crucial London derby against West Ham before focusing on the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals against Ajax next week.

"We must be confident, the team are doing a fantastic effort," Pochettino added.

The finale was painful for Brighton, who have won only two of their last 15 league games and sit just one place and three points above the relegation zone.

Elsewhere, Southampton striker Shane Long scored the fastest goal in Premier League history after netting just 7.69 seconds into his side's 1-1 draw at Watford, who snatched a point thanks to Andre Gray's late equalizer.

Long's record-breaking goal came immediately after the kick-off when he blocked a clearance from Watford defender Craig Cathcart, allowing the Republic of Ireland international to dink a cool finish over Ben Foster.

The 32-year-old's effort surpassed the previous fastest Premier League goal, scored by Tottenham defender Ledley King in 9.9 seconds against Bradford in December 2000.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE



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