Sport Soccer

Friday 13 December 2019

Danny Rose not getting carried away but Erik Lamela aiming high for Tottenham

Danny Rose, right, refuses to believe Spurs are title contenders
Danny Rose, right, refuses to believe Spurs are title contenders

Danny Rose says his team-mate Erik Lamela was "disgusted" at the suggestion Tottenham could yet miss out on the top four but insists he still refuses to believe Spurs can win the title.

Rose scored the winner as Mauricio Pochettino's side came from behind to beat Swansea 2-1 on Sunday - a victory that moves them three points ahead of Arsenal and reduces the gap behind Barclays Premier League leaders Leicester back to two.

Spurs showed the sort of resilience at White Hart Lane from which champions are made and with 11 games to go they are the form team in the title race, having won their last six league matches on the bounce.

The run has helped Tottenham open up a 10-point gap between themselves and fifth-placed Manchester United, but Rose remains reluctant to think about anything other than Champions League qualification.

"I refuse to believe," the 25-year-old said. "I'd like to believe we can, but I don't want to think that.

"Before the Manchester City game (2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium on February 14), I was having dinner with Lamela and I was still asking him if he reckoned we can finish top four.

"I've never seen someone look at me with such disgust. He said, 'My friend, we can win the league'.

"I realise the position we are in but I don't want to get too carried away. Games like the one Leicester had (on Saturday, when they beat Norwich 1-0), scoring in the last minute, you never know, it could be a pivotal moment for them.

"Come the end of the season I hope me scoring against Swansea can be a pivotal moment for Tottenham this season."

Rose's future was uncertain when Pochettino first arrived at Spurs in May 2014, especially after the new boss made Ben Davies one of his first signings from Swansea.

The two left-backs, however, have interchanged throughout the current campaign, with Rose holding a slight lead in league starts with 15 to Davies' 12.

"It's great competition," Rose said.

"I'm thankful Ben is here because he's helped me improve and I hope I've helped him improve. Whenever he plays, I see it as a chance to learn from him.

"I watch him and he makes the under-lapping runs so well, the timing of his runs, and it's something I need to improve in my game.

"I'm sure Kyle (Walker) will be thankful (fellow right-back) Kieran (Trippier) is here too because Kieran is having a great first season. He has managed to chip in with a couple of assists. I'm over the moon for everyone."

This is the closest Tottenham have come to winning the league since Harry Redknapp's 2011-12 side - including Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart - sat third in February, five points off the top.

Rose stopped short of saying this Spurs squad is an even better outfit but hailed the togetherness of the current crop, who have now taken 17 points from losing positions this season - the most in the division.

"I'm not sure whether it's the best team since I've been here," Rose said.

"It's probably the best togetherness I've had and that's probably more important than actual ability.

"We never give up for one another. We're willing to run to the end for one another and we've shown that against Swansea."

Rose added: "It's not a statistic you want, going behind and having to fight to come back, but it's still a great statistic to have.

"It shows the great character the manager has instilled through the club, from top to bottom. A lot of credit has to go to him and his staff.

"We all feel very privileged to be here working under him. We've got a great team around and it literally is a never-say-die attitude."

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