White-hot Spurs beat Leicester to keep up Premier League title pressure

Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min, right, celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's third goal. (AP)
Updated 11 February 2019
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White-hot Spurs beat Leicester to keep up Premier League title pressure

LONDON: Tottenham kept their bid to gatecrash the Premier League title race alive after Davinson Sanchez’s first goal for the club and Hugo Lloris’s penalty save inspired a 3-1 win over Leicester City on Sunday.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side took the lead through Sanchez’s first half header, but they were indebted to Lloris for keeping them ahead after he saved Jamie Vardy’s penalty just after the interval at Wembley.
Christian Eriksen netted moments later and although Vardy got one back for the visitors, Son Heung-min’s late strike ensured third-placed Tottenham clinched a fifth win in their last six league games.
“I feel very proud. I think it was a fantastic result,” Pochettino said.
“It was a tough game and Leicester played so well. You always have to fight to the end for big things.
“We were a little bit lucky today, but we deserved it because we fought. I need to congratulate my players because I thought they were fantastic.
“Sometimes you can win games not playing your best. We conceded more chances than usual, but I think the victory is fair,” Pochettino said.
“The effort was fantastic, with the circumstances that happened in this game and also this season,” he added.
The north Londoners are five points off the top of the table as they try to catch pace-setters Liverpool and Manchester City, who both won again this weekend.
While Tottenham are still outsiders to win their first English title since 1961, their ability to stay in contention, despite injuries to key players Harry Kane and Dele Alli suggests they should not be completely written off.
The battling win was good preparation for hosting Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last 16 first leg on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Leicester have lost four of their last five league games, increasing the pressure on under-fire boss Claude Puel.
“It’s disappointing and again we are left with not a good feeling. We should’ve had the game between our hands with a lot of chances,” he said.
“We created a lot of good moves with a lot of good intentions and we didn’t find good finishing. We had all the opportunities to win this game but we couldn’t finish.
“It leaves me with mixed feelings as we showed good quality but I’m very aggrieved with all these chances we had.”
Puel has reportedly lost the support of several influential players, including England striker Vardy, who was left on the bench for the first 60 minutes before coming on to miss the penalty with his first touch.
Insisting he was happy for Vardy to take the penalty, Puel said: “I gave him the opportunity. I said if he felt good he could take it.
“Maybe it was not a good thing, but we had a lot of chances, not just with this penalty.”
And the only blemish on Tottenham’s day was Son’s booking for simulation, the South Korean going down after an incisive raid, which left Tottenham furious when his penalty appeal ended in a booking for diving after Maguire stuck out a leg to halt him.
Still angry about the decision after the match, Pochettino fumed: “It’s unbelievable. I am a person who accepts the mistakes, but today it was so clear. I told Michael Oliver.
“If we are being targeted (by referees), I don’t understand why. We are nice people.”


Lewis Hamilton tells rivals ‘catch me if you can’

Updated 20 February 2019
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Lewis Hamilton tells rivals ‘catch me if you can’

  • Five-time world champion feeling confident of a sixth crown ahead of new season.
  • Pre-season testing going well in Barcelona.

BARCELONA: Lewis Hamilton has warned his rivals they had better get ready to catch his dust as he is feeling “better than ever” ahead of the season.
The 34-year-old Briton enjoyed a near flawless run to secure his fifth drivers’ title last year. He won 11 of the 21 races to beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with two races to spare, and he expects the Italian marque to once again keep him on his toes.
“Ferrari are very strong,” Hamilton said in Barcelona on the third day of pre-season testing.
“It appears they have a better package than last year, which means it will be a bigger challenge for us.
“In the last few years, Ferrari has looked good from the very beginning so that’s to be expected.”
But he said it would be a mistake to draw any hard and fast conclusions from the evidence thrown up by testing.
“We’ll have a better idea I guess this time next week where we stand but still then we won’t know what fuel loads everybody is on and who is showing their cars and who isn’t.”
Hamilton, with a new two-year deal that will earn him £40 million ($52 million) a season, is buzzing after the winter recess.
“I feel in the best shape that I’ve been in,” he assured his fans, as he embarks on his quest for a sixth championship and record sixth consecutive constructors’ crown for Mercedes.
On a sixth title he shrugged: “I am not even focusing on that. It’s a new season, a new year, a new chapter and we have to approach like it’s our first.
“We’re going for number one, that’s how I approach it.
“But it’s not something that I allow my peers to talk about. It’s not what we are here for to focus on that number.”
He dismissed out of hand any notion of complacency setting in at his all-conquering team.
“We are always driven to do something new and to break boundaries and do stuff that no one else has done before but we are fully aware of the work that it will take to deliver something like that and it’s by no means like ‘yeah we are going for the sixth’ like it’s a relaxed thing.
“It’s not like that.”
Hamilton’s bid for title number six begins at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17.