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When Erik Lamela Convinced Danny Rose to Believe in Spurs' Title Dreams

Is Danny Rose the best interviewee in modern sport? (YES)

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Twenty-four hours have passed since Danny Rose's emphatic game-winner placed Tottenham Hotspur in sole possession of second place in the Barclays Premier League. Heading into March, Spurs sit just two points behind league-leading Leicester, three points clear of Arsenal, ten in front of United, and a whopping sixteen and eighteen points ahead of Liverpool and Chelsea respectively. In short, there is an ocean of excitement surrounding this season and its squad.

Count Danny Rose in on the well-wishing horde. In a wide-ranging interview with Ham & High's Spurs reporter Ben Pearce, Rose discussed a multitude of topics including his match-winning goal and Spurs legitimacy in this year's title race. Due to the range of matters discussed, I broke down Rose's comments into six different sections. First off, Rose's view on 2015-15 Premier League title.

The Title

The left-back said: "I'd like to believe we can but I don't want to think that... Before the Man City game I was having dinner with Lamela and I was still asking him if he reckoned we can finish in the top four.

"I've never seen someone look at me with such disgust. He said ‘My friend, we can win the league'.

The Lamela story is the headline grabber of the interview, but what I love exponentially more is Rose's mindset because it is Tottenham Hotspur to the max. Maybe not Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham Hotspur, but if you've supported the club since 1970 you get what the man is putting out. I still look at United's results with the same intensity as I do a Leicester or even an Arsenal fixture. We are doggedly trained to expect the worst, so even when good things are happening, and we have applied the proper pinch to ourselves, we are still guarded about all of this title talk. Maybe we all need a look of disgust from Coco to get our heads straight. Meme anyone?

The Strike

"I realise the position we're in but I don't want to get too carried away. Games like the one Leicester had on Saturday, scoring in the last minute [to beat Norwich], you never know, it could be a pivotal moment for them. Come the end of the season I hope me scoring can be a pivotal moment for Tottenham."

Could that strike prove to be the most important of Rose's eight goals for Spurs? Bigger, even, that that legendary volley against Arsenal in 2010, which helped the Lilywhites to qualify for the Champions League for the first time?

"Possibly... I'll be able to tell you more at the end of the season," said the 25-year-old. "I hope it's a vital goal and we'll know at the end of the season how vital it was.

"I haven't seen a goalkeeping performance like Fab's [Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski's] in my whole career. We showed great attitude and we didn't go under."

Rose is sly here. Crediting Fabianski with the best goalkeeping performance that he has ever seen and then scoring the match-winner against him. This after stating that his goal could be an enormously important moment in Spurs' title quest. Talk about elevating an accomplishment. Well played Danny, well played.

The Resiliency

So is this the best Spurs side Rose has played in?

"I've thought about this a lot," he said. "I'm not sure. It's probably the best togetherness I've had and that's probably more important than actual ability.

"We never give up for one another, we're willing to run to the end for one another and we've shown that again - but I'm not sure whether it's the best one since I've been here."

Tottenham's spirit is underlined by the fact that they have now earned 17 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season.

"It's not a statistic you want, going behind and having to fight to come back, but it's still a great statistic to have nevertheless," said Rose. "It shows the great character the manager has instilled through the club, from top to bottom.

Weezus and Niko Kranjcar aren't in the squad, so it can't be the most talented. Period. End of story. Most resilient though, with the best team spirit? Definitely. Spurs have single-handedly dispelled the Europa League hangover theory and have come from behind, not just to nick a point, but to take all three, countless times this season. This is not just the mark of good team chemistry, but a knack that all great teams have.

The Manager

"A lot of credit has to go to him and his staff. We all feel very privileged to be here working under him. We've got a great team around and it literally is a never-say-die attitude.

Rose continued: "Under Harry [Redknapp], nine times out of 10 we played with two strikers so I reckon it was a bit easier than it is now. We play with a lot of midfielders and only Harry [Kane] as the main striker, so it's harder for Harry when teams come here.

We have spoke ad nauseum about the greatness of Poche so we get it, but even these comments shine. Privilege concerning one's manager isn't a word thrown around much by professional footballers. It's evident that Poche wins over his squad like few others in the game. They are willing to go to hell and back for him and it shows in the team's physical and mental commitment to each match.

Also, Harry Redknapp. FRAAB. Legend.

The Pitch

"Our pitch isn't the biggest so it's harder to go in behind, but we've got great quality throughout the squad. It's our problem to work out how to break teams down and, for the majority of games this season, we've done that.

"We've not spoken about [the size of the pitch], but for instance the goal we scored at Arsenal, where Harry got in behind, it's more difficult to do it here with the pitch being a bit smaller. But it's never been an excuse, I'm just saying. The gaffer, nor anyone else, has ever mentioned that."

"I've spoken about it with the manager - last season teams didn't really respect us [at the Lane]. They came here thinking they would get a few chances, playing with two strikers and trying to score as many as possible, but it's different this season.

"Opponents know we're a much better team and it's credit to us. It's very difficult once a team get into position, trying to break them down. Luckily we've managed to do that in the majority of games this season and hopefully we can keep going until the end."

The Lane is beloved for being a ground that is right on top of the pitch. In fact, Spurs new stadium aims to recreate this atmosphere, albeit with 22,000 plus extra seats. Can't say I totally agree with Rose's statement that due to the pitch's size, opposing defenses are harder to break-down. In fact, I think Nacer Chadli's equalizer is a testament of the opposite. If opponents play on their back-heel all game and try to dig in against a quality Spurs side, POMO goals like Le Dauphin's are bound to happen. Outside of the perceived "weak" mentality of former Spurs sides, this could be why teams came to White Hart Lane in more attacking formations. A fixture against Spurs equates to a match on a smaller pitch against an attacking side. It is why Spurs are never dull. Audere Est Facere

The Substitutes

"After the Newcastle game [when the Magpies won 2-1 at White Hart Lane in December] their two subs either scored or contributed to the goals," said the defender.

"Hugo [Lloris] said when our subs come on, they have to be ready to either chase the man down or try to win us a goal.

"The first example of that, for me, was Palace away. Nacer came on and we ended up winning 3-1, albeit from a world-class goal from Dele.

"This time he came on again and he managed to help contribute to us getting three points. If you're not playing you have to be ready to step in at any moment, and thankfully everyone has done that."

Pochettino never really bothered me in this department. Plus Pochettino is on a god-like level right now so why even try to knock him? Not omnipotent maybe, but the closest form of perfection that we have on this bastardly earth. That and he doesn't start Nacer Chadli anymore. Substitution problem solved. The dude *only* scores, why waste those other 89 minutes on mediocrity when you can get the same thing from a 69th-minute sub. The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of London.

The Competition

"It's great competition," said Rose. "As I've said, I'm thankful Ben is here because he's helped me improve and I hope I've helped him improve.

"Whenever he plays, I see it as a chance to learn from him. I watch him and he makes the underlapping runs so well, the timing of his runs, and it's something I need to improve in my game.

"I'm sure Kyle will be thankful Kieran is here because Kieran is having a great first season - he's managed to chip in with a couple of assists. I'm over the moon for everyone."

I think this is the most astounding part about Pochettino's reign. He has created an environment with legitimate competition across every single position (ok, maybe Hugo & Harry are safe) and the camaraderie within the team is unscathed. This isn't Munich, Madrid, or Barcelona. Players aren't simply just happy to be here. This makes Poche's rotation and management of personnel even more impressive.

Also, underlapping runs. LOL. Forever synonymous with Ben Davies from this day forth.

What a GREAT time to support this club!