Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte said his team could “feel the blood” of their rivals and capitalised on their slips as the north London club tightened their grip on the fourth place in the Premier League with a 4-0 win at Aston Villa.
Son Heung-min’s hat-trick on Saturday helped Tottenham open a three-point lead over rivals Arsenal, with Conte’s team fourth in the league on 57 points after 31 matches. Arsenal are fifth on 54 points, having played one match less.
Manchester United’s defeat at Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ defeat at Newcastle United also helped Tottenham strengthen their grip on the fourth spot.
Conte said he was pleased with the attitude and composure of his players who dealt with pressure in the first half against Villa before sealing the victory in the second half with a counter-attacking performance.
“It was a great win for us, especially coming after your rivals have played and lost: Wolverhampton, Manchester United and Arsenal,” Conte said.
“In this moment you start to feel the blood. It is important in this moment not to fail. We are working a lot on the mentality and the players are giving me satisfaction.
“At the same time, I know we have to work on this improvement. Because there are not only the tactical, technical and physical aspects but there is the mentality. There is a lot of space for improvement.”
Tottenham next host 11th-placed Brighton & Hove Albion on April 16.