Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas was relieved his side managed to avoid their habit of conceding late goals as they reclaimed a place in the Premier League top four with a 1-0 win over Swansea on Sunday.
Spurs have conceded 10 goals in the final 15 minutes of league games this season - including two in the defeat at Everton last weekend - but held on at White Hart Lane to take all three points thanks to Jan Vertonghen’s 75th minute strike.
Villas-Boas admitted the team have been working on their concentration in training during the week and is now targeting a push towards the top two ahead of the busy festive fixture period.
“Yeah I was a bit nervous [at the end],” said Villas Boas. “Football is unpredictable but today the players showed the desire and ambition to put right the wrongs.
“We addressed it in training as a group, concentrating in the last part of training. It’s difficult because you can’t recreate the stressful environment of a game. We had a go, we made the exercises more complex and made the players think with the tasks that they have to do.
“Today doesn’t mean the problem is solved but we are working on it.
“For us, it’s important to break out of this pack, but that’s difficult to do. It’s not easy but we want to distance ourselves.
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“The problem is that the Premier League this season is very tight from third to 10th. Teams are separated by four or five points.”
Villas-Boas also reserved praise for goalscorer Vertonghen after he scored his first official league goal following his £10 million summer arrival from Ajax.
“It was a beautiful finish,” added the Spurs manager. “We knew Swansea concede a lot of their goals from set plays. It was important for us, he has proved he has the ability to score goals.
“Today we reverted him to central defence. He’s extremely comfortable on the ball, he can play left-back or in the middle. He was captain of Ajax, he’s won titles, he’s a strong character.
“Patience was the key today. We kept going, we kept believing and we got the reward that we deserved.
“Swansea defensively were very good. It was difficult to break them down but we had so many chances it would have been deeply unfair to come out of this game without a win.”