Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says his side’s ability to block out difficult external factors have made his side title contenders this season.
Spurs continued their brilliant festive period with a 5-0 romp over Bournemouth, which made it 11 goals in two games and took them above Manchester City and into the top two, six points off Liverpool.
They came into the game on the back of the 6-2 mauling of Everton on Sunday and again brought their shooting boots as Christian Eriksen, Son-Heung Min (two), Lucas Moura and Harry Kane found the net at Wembley.
It is an impressive achievement for Spurs, who have posted their best 19-game return in the Premier League era, considering what they have had to contend with this season.
No summer signings, delays to the new stadium, a congested fixture list, injury problems and most recently Pochettino being linked with the permanent job at Manchester United.
The Argentinian says his players have created a bubble and it has allowed them to flourish.
“One thing that we have is the belief in the squad, all of them young or senior players,” he said.
“We always believe that we can improve and always believe that we can learn.
“In six months we never complain about anything. We no complain about no signings, we no complain about the stadium, we no complain about the fixtures, we no complain about come to play at Wembley when the plan was to play in the new stadium and the pitch because Wembley was booked for the season – many, many things.
“But one thing we have kept is the belief and been positive, we created a bubble and now that is paying (off) and we are I think in that position because we work a lot.
“Still we are halfway of the season, but to break records like the best first half in the Premier League and many things that can make us very proud.”
Tottenham’s ascent up to second has coincided with Manchester City losing three out of four games and completes a seven-point swing over City, who were five points clear of Spurs after beating them 1-0 at the end of October.
Pochettino added: “I wasn’t negative in that moment (when we were fifth) eight weeks ago and now I am trying to keep the balance with my emotion.
“We are happy because we are in a good position, but to be honest it doesn’t mean too much to us to be second or third, or first, I think the most important thing is where you finish in May.
“When you are there you start to show your face, everyone wants to kill you and of course it is tougher when you are higher. But of course, we need to keep in the same way; humble, working hard and knowing that each game is going to be tougher than the one before.”
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe feels that Simon Francis could be out for the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury.
The right-back came off in first-half injury time and has gone to hospital for a scan.
“He has gone for a scan on his knee, it doesn’t look good, we are very concerned that it is is a serious injury,” Howe said. “It could be the rest of the season, we will know when we get the results.
“I don’t know what to say on it, it’s one of those things, hugely disappointing for a player who has been magnificent for the football club.
“No thoughts are with anything other than him and his family tonight, we hope it is not as bad as it is looks, but we fear that is the case.
“I have not spoken to him, but I am sure he will be desperately disappointed not to be able to perform with the team.”