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Tottenham Show Resilience of Champions in Comeback Win over Swansea

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28:  Danny Rose is congratulated by Harry Kane after his goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City at White Hart Lane on February 28, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Sam RookeFeatured ColumnistFebruary 29, 2016

This wasn't supposed to be the year that Mauricio Pochettino's long-term plan bore championship fruit. 

In just his second season as Tottenham boss, Pochettino has built the finest team in the division. 

With Tottenham having the best defence and equal-best attack, two points shy of the summit of the Premier League with 11 games remaining, this has been a remarkable season that continues to roll on. 

The 2-1 win over Swansea City was typical of a title-chasing team and demonstrative of just how good Spurs have become. 

For an hour, the trickery and quick feet of Heung-Min Son, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli made chance after chance but were turned away. 

Lukasz Fabianski was in superb form, seemingly unbeatable in the Swansea goal. 

The visitors had compressed after taking a 19th-minute lead through Alberto Paloschi and were defending heroically. 

Undeterred, Tottenham began firing in shots from distance, forcing Swansea's defenders to push out and open up some space. 

After more than 30 attempts on the Swansea goal, Tottenham got the breakthrough. 

Kyle Walker found substitute Nacer Chadli for the equaliser before Danny Rose hammered in the winner seven minutes later.

Consistency has rarely been associated with Spurs over the decades, and it has all but eluded the majority of teams in this somewhat bizarre season.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28:  Kyle Walker of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City at White Hart Lane on February 28, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Tottenham have been one of the few exceptions, having started slowly but collecting an average of 2.21 points per game since their first victory of the season.

They've now matched their best-ever Premier League run with six consecutive victories.

That is not merely impressive for an infamously inconsistent team like Tottenham or even simply in as unpredictable a season as this one. 

Only seven teams have enjoyed longer winning streaks since the formation of the league, according to Craig Bloomfield of TalkSport

The mental strength required to win six straight games is laudable and reflective of Spurs' genuine title credentials. 

More important still is the fact that this win came despite trailing for 51 minutes.

Tottenham were behind and, though dominating possession, struggling to create clear-cut chances. 

They rose above the mounting pressure and carried on with the game plan. 

17 - Tottenham have now won 17 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season – the most in the Premier League. Character.

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 28, 2016

Perhaps the only thing that will delight Pochettino more than the result will be the fact his full-backs were decisive with one scoring the winner and the other providing the assist for Chadli's equaliser. 

Rose's goal was the most significant of the day, but perhaps the next most important came 10 minutes earlier and 160 miles away. 

Ander Herrera's winner for Manchester United against Arsenal at Old Trafford has given Spurs a crucial three-point cushion against their hated rivals. With Tottenham's superior goal difference, that gap is essentially four points. 

It is by no means a decisive gap and could well be erased by next Sunday afternoon, but it is obviously a strong position. 

The next two fixtures will be hugely important. 

First up is the trip across London to face West Ham for the final time at Upton Park. 

This rivalry is overshadowed by the more extensive enmity between Tottenham and Arsenal, but it is still a genuine derby and will be fiercely contested. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28:  Harry Kane of Spurs controls the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City at White Hart Lane on February 28, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Imag
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

While West Ham represent a difficult hurdle, the true test comes three days later in the north London derby. 

That fixture falls short of being a title-decider, since Leicester still have their part to play.

If Spurs can match Arsenal's mid-week result, a win next Saturday will give them a bulwark of six points (as well as the vastly superior goal difference), which could be decisive.

The resilience shown in the win over Swansea is precisely what will be required in the trials still to come. 

Having proven themselves the comeback kings of the Premier League, there is obviously a belief among Spurs' squad that no match is beyond them. 

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