Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is delighted with his side’s character after their 2-1 Europa League win over Anderlecht on Thursday, Daily Mail reports.
Harry Kane put Spurs ahead in the first half, but Imoh Ezekiel levelled the game in the 72nd minute and it looked like it would finish 1-1.
However, substitute Moussa Dembele smashed in a brilliant shot three minutes from time to give Pochettino’s men the victory.
This means that now the Lilywhites sit top of their Europa League group with seven points, while Monaco are in second with six.
But more importantly, the win is a big boost ahead of the North London Derby this weekend, with Tottenham hosting Arsenal at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
“We knew Anderlecht are a very good team,” Pochettino said. “It was a difficult start to the game. They had some chances. The way we managed the ball and moved the ball was very slow. It was difficult for us to create chances.
“The way Anderlecht play is to sit deep and move forward with very fast players but we showed character. It is difficult to play every game, creating chances and always trying to play from the back with our philosophy.
“Today I congratulate the players because sometimes when you don’t play well you need to show character – and compete and suffer. Today we learned a lot.”
The Argentine went on to lavish praise on Dembele, who was struggling for game time last season but now seems to be a big part of Pochettino’s plans this term.
“If we analyse him last season, part of the season he was injured,’ Pochettino said. “I think Dembele from the beginning of this season, every time he was available he had the possibility to play.
“Always it’s up to the player. If the player shows he deserves to play, it’s easy for them. I am very pleased with him. He got injured against Everton and had some problems with his foot but today he was very important for us.”
Dembele, 28, has played 10 games in all competitions this season, scoring three goals (Whoscored.com).