Mauricio Pochettino hails Tottenham's belief after holding out for win over Everton

Romelu Lukaku's late strike forced Tottenham to tighten up and hold the Toffees at bay to claim all three points

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Mauricio Pochettino hailed his Tottenham Hotspur side’s belief after seeing them reduce Chelsea’s lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points.

Harry Kane’s brace looked to have put Tottenham in the driving seat against Everton on Sunday lunchtime, but Romelu Lukaku struck late on to reduce the hosts’ advantage.

Dele Alli restored the two-goal lead in stoppage time, only for the visitors’ Enner Valencia to round off the scoring with virtually the last kick of the game.

Lukaku’s strike forced Tottenham to tighten up and protect a lead which had not previously seemed under threat, and Pochettino believes the performance showed his players have the character to keep pressure on the league leaders and last the course.

“The most important is to show that we believe and today we showed that more than talk or speak,” he said.

“It's better that the team showed that performance because they believe we need to be there. It's not up to us, of course, but it's up to us to be there if they [Chelsea] fail.

“The gap is seven points. I'd like to be closer than seven points but if you keep going in that way maybe we will achieve.”

Chelsea travel to West Ham United, who knocked them out of this season’s League Cup, in this week’s Monday night fixture.

Antonio Conte’s side have shown little sign of giving ground to those chasing them, but Pochettino remains confident that his players can push them all the way, especially after recording a ninth consecutive home win.

It is the first time that Tottenham have achieved such a feat in the Premier League era.

“It's fantastic to make history with our supporters,” said Pochettino. “The three points keep us in a very good position in the table. We keep working hard and we need to keep going.”