AFTER the two teams immediately below them – Arsenal and Liverpool – both dropped three points, Spurs consolidated second place in the Premier League thanks to Harry Kane’s penalty at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men controlled the proceedings and probably should have won by more, but Middlesbrough proved a resilient side and they spurned a great chance to equalise in time added on when Marten de Roon mishit his shot.
“We dominated the game, played very good football, created a lot of chances and we’re a little disappointed because you need to score more than one and not leave the game open,” said the Spurs manager, who was celebrating his 100th league game in charge.
“At the end we suffered a little, we were a little nervous because in the Premier League the game is never closed if you don’t have that gap.
“In the end we’re happy with a good performance and happy because three points puts us in a good position in the table.”
Spurs, having been held 0-0 at Sunderland in midweek, remain nine points behind leaders Chelsea and one ahead of Manchester City.
However, they have opened up a three-point advantage over Arsenal, who are now in fourth place, and they visit Liverpool, who are four points adrift of Spurs in fifth place, this Saturday.
Tottenham had to wait until the second half until making the
all-important breakthrough in the 58th minute against Middlesbrough after Heung-Min Son had been brought down in the box by Espinosa Bernardo.
Kane, who had missed his previous penalty in the 4-1 win at Southampton in December, made no mistake this time around.
“That one went miles up in the stands and I’ve been waiting for one to put that right. I was delighted to put it away," said the Spurs marksman, who had seen a 41st-minute effort ruled out by an offside flag after he had converted a low cross from Son.
Kane also praised the South Korean international, who had notched both Spurs’ goals in the 2-1 win at Middlesbrough back in September.
“It was great play from Sonny,” he said. “He has such great feet. He can go either way. He’d gone left, but on that occasion he chopped back on to his right foot, the defender stuck a leg out and he won the penalty for us.
“It was important, it won us the game and we’ll take that. On another day we would have scored more, but that doesn’t matter. We got the three points and we move on to the next one.”