The last-gasp comeback against West Ham at the weekend was a typical showing of how Tottenham manage to fight until the very last seconds to pick up points in the Premier League. A mishit Danny Rose shot fooled Adrian before Harry Kane went down in the penalty area as a result of an Alex Song tackle in the 95th minute.
The subsequent penalty was saved by Adrian before Kane pounced on the loose ball to strike home. Around 20 minutes prior to the two goals, it looked as if Tottenham were dead and buried, as they were playing poorly and showed little killer-instinct in attack.
So just how do Tottenham keep rescuing points at the death of games such as the one against West Ham? It can be argued that some of it is down to luck. Danny Rose’s goal was one that won’t be remembered for years to come as it freakishly looped into the bottom-right hand corner of the goal. However, you need a bit of luck to complete a turnaround and Tottenham seized the opportunity to make West Ham suffer.
After Rose’s goal, the pressure was relentless. Spurs were not necessarily creating chance after chance but they played most of the latter stages of the second half attacking West Ham’s goal. It was this constant pressure that eventually forced the Hammers to crack, as Song rushed a challenge to bring down Harry Kane as the in-form striker looked to bulldoze his way into the box when time was quickly running out.
So a distinctive formula to Spurs’ late showings is luck. However, if you’re good enough, you can make your own luck. This applies to no team more in the Premier League than Tottenham. Pochettino has moulded a team that not only plays good football but is also incredibly fit. This allows Spurs to keep pushing until the 90th minute whilst other teams may be suffering with tiredness at late stages in the game. Pochettino set the tone in Tottenham’s first game of the season, a game also against West Ham.
Eric Dier was the hero for Spurs that day as he scored the winner at Upton Park in the 90th minute. This last-gasp winner seemed to set the tone for the rest of the season as West Ham were not the only team on the end of a number of late showings from Spurs.
Eriksen’s late strikes against the likes of Hull City, Swansea City and Sunderland ensured that Spurs grabbed very late wins. Harry Kane is also no stranger to a late goal as he scored at the death against Aston Villa, Arsenal and of course West Ham, which gained vital points for Spurs. It is this psychological strength that almost echoes the days of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Tottenham do not relax when the game is coming to an end, it is this time that they really hit top gear.
Although Pochettino may like his team to perform at their highest level for slightly longer than the last five minutes, it is still a very valuable team trait to have. If Spurs do qualify for the Champions League at the end of the season, they will look towards the 90th minute winners that were instrumental to picking up more points across the entirety of the season.
Some may call it luck but Tottenham’s late efforts are more a force of habit which could lead to them playing Champions League football next year.