first_imgIf the result is all that matters at this late stage of the season, then Tottenham will reflect on this low-key victory with a measure of satisfaction. It did not bother Mauricio Pochettino that there were times when his bruised players tried too hard to extinguish their disappointment at failing to reach the FA Cup final. They still won with plenty left in the tank and, in the end, this was a timely reminder that the modern Tottenham possess more resolve than many of their predecessors.That is why Pochettino likes to speak about this young team’s development. The Argentinian has hardened their mentality and, while Tottenham’s wait for their first trophy since 2008 will not end this season, the bottom line is that they can guarantee a top-four finish by beating West Brom on Saturday and Newcastle next Wednesday.Dele Alli’s opener provided them with a springboard to move five points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea and Tottenham will pip Liverpool to third place if they win their final three matches. They endured some awkward moments here and Watford, who are still not arithmetically safe from relegation, felt aggrieved not to have won for the first time since 3 March. Harry Kane’s 38th goal of the season killed off Javi Gracia’s side, though, and left Pochettino praising his team’s response to losing their FA Cup semi-final to Manchester United last weekend. Share on Facebook The striker has looked out of sorts since returning from an ankle injury and he is still playing himself back into form. Yet his importance to this team has never been in doubt and, with Gareth Southgate in the stands, this was a good time for England’s best hope at the World Cup to rediscover his scoring touch. Photograph: Stephen Pond/Getty Images Europe “It is important in the last few games that we win,” Pochettino said. “We were all disappointed. Our fans the same. You felt it. I am so proud of the mentality and commitment they showed.”The game was played in a subdued atmosphere, with plenty of empty seats dotted around the ground, and Spurs were often there for the taking. There was a slight air of edginess about their play and Pochettino frowned at his team’s tentativeness in the final third, especially when Kane spurned a decent shooting opportunity with an awkward piece of control in the 12th minute. Watford sensed an opportunity to exploit that unease, showing inventiveness on the break, and Spurs’ defenders were relieved to see Hugo Lloris deny Andre Gray in the 25th minute.The frustration for Watford, however, was that one defensive aberration had already undermined their enterprising approach by the time Gray saw his snapshot pushed away.A team with Tottenham’s attacking options rarely require a helping hand from their opponents and Orestis Karnezis will wince when he watches a replay of the mistake that handed the home team an undeserved lead.The threat looked minimal when Kieran Trippier whipped a cross towards the near post from the right flank. It should have been a routine catch for Karnezis. Instead, the Watford goalkeeper was distracted by Christian Kabasele ducking underneath the ball and his fumble presented Christian Eriksen with the chance to tee up Alli, who drove a low shot into the unguarded net. Reuse this content League TwoChampions: Accrington Stanley Promoted: Luton Town, WycombePlay-offs: Lincoln v Exeter, Coventry v Notts CountyRelegated: Barnet, Chesterfield.National League: Macclesfield Town were promoted as champions, with Tranmere Rovers winning the play-off final. ChampionshipChampions: WolvesPromoted: CardiffPlay-off final: Fulham v Middlesbrough or Aston Villa (Sat 26 May)Relegation: Sunderland, Burton, Barnsley Thank you for your feedback. Facebook Tottenham Hotspur Share on Pinterest Harry Kane scores Tottenham’s second goal. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images Quick guide Promotion and relegation: how they stand Sign up for The Fiver and get our daily football email. match reports League OneChampions: Wigan (pictured)Promoted: BlackburnPlay-offs: Shrewsbury v Scunthorpe or Rotherham (Sun 27 May)Relegated: Oldham, Northampton, MK Dons, Bury Pinterest Tottenham emerged with renewed focus at the start of the second half and normal service was resumed when Kane made it 2-0. The goal stemmed from one of those flowing moves that have made Spurs so enjoyable to watch under Pochettino, Eriksen shuffling a pass to Alli, who poked the ball through to Son Heung-min on the left. Son wasted no time turning the ball across goal and, although Kane slipped in the middle, the striker sprung back to his feet to meet Trippier’s centre with a crisp shot.Watford, winless on their travels since 25 November, had been put in their place. Richarlison contrived to fire over from close range and Gerard Deulofeu had a goal correctly ruled out for offside. But despite losing Mousa Dembélé to an ankle injury, Tottenham closed out the game after Kane’s goal.center_img Share via Email Topics Share on Twitter Premier LeagueChampions: Manchester CityChampions League: Manchester United and Tottenham in the group stage, Liverpool will face a play-off unless they win this year’s final.Europa League: Chelsea, Arsenal and BurnleyRelegation: Swansea, Stoke and West Brom Twitter Share on Messenger Was this helpful? Watford Show ScotlandPremiership: Celtic sealed their seventh straight title with Aberdeen in second and Rangers in third qualifying for the Europa League. Ross County are relegated, with Partick playing second-tier Livingston in a promotion-relegation play-off.Championship: St Mirren are promoted as champions, while Brechin are relegated. Dumbarton also went down after losing their play-off to Alloa.League One: Ayr United are champions with Alloa joining them in the second tier. Queen’s Park and Albion Rovers are relegated.League Two: Montrose are champions with Stenhousemuir going up via the play-offs. Cowdenbeath stayed up after winning their relegation play-off with Cove Rangers. Read more However, Pochettino was mistaken if he thought that isolated show of composure from Alli would settle his players. Watford targeted Tottenham’s unconvincing high line, forcing Lloris to race out of his area to beat Abdoulaye Doucouré to a through-ball, and all that was missing was a touch of ruthlessness.A lovely backheel from Will Hughes released Doucouré, who shot straight at Lloris, and Richarlison also had an effort pushed away after combining with Gray. “We conceded a few chances but Lloris showed fantastic skills in goal,” Pochettino said. His side would make Watford regret their generosity. “We conceded cheap goals,” Gracia said. “When we created chances we didn’t score.” Share on LinkedIn Tottenham facing up to reality check as stadium costs escalate Share on WhatsApp Premier League Hide last_img read more