Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino hailed the continued emergence of Son Heung-min after the South Korean struck twice for the second time in a fortnight to sink Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.
Following up his double against Stoke earlier this month, Son put Spurs ahead after seven minutes and added his second midway through the first half before Boro reduced the deficit through Ben Gibson after the break as the visitors ran out 2-1 winners.
The 24-year-old Son endured an ineffective first season in the Premier League after signing from Bayer Leverkusen last summer, to the extent that there were rumours Pochettino could seek to recoup some of his £22million fee.
But Pochettino said: “It is difficult for all the players who come from outside England because the Premier League is the toughest league in the world and they need time to settle.
“After one year and the summer he is a different person – he’s more mature and he knows the league and he’s settled in fantastically now. When a front player scores goals it is easy for him to settle.”
With the extent of Harry Kane’s ankle injury set to be assessed this week, Pochettino admitted some concern over his side’s failure to convert their sizeable percentage of possession into a more convincing win.
"It's important for us to show our love."
Mauricio was full of praise for over 3,000 travelling supporters who saw us win in Middlesbrough. pic.twitter.com/sSZtkdIcWG
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 24, 2016
“I was a little disappointed because we created a lot of chances and we weren’t clinical enough in front of goal,” added Pochettino.
“We have to work on our percentage and we have to work on that for the future. Two-nil is not a score you can say ‘okay it’s over’, and at 2-1 we suffered a bit but I think we deserved the victory.”
Pochettino will now turn his attention to Tuesday’s Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow but must first run the rule over Moussa Sissoko, who was substituted after 70 minutes of the game with suspected concussion.
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka questioned the attitude of his players after watching them slide to their third consecutive top-flight defeat.
The Spaniard was especially frustrated with the way his side more than held their own in an invigorating second period having effectively thrown away their chance of victory in a below-par first period.
Karanka said: “It’s frustrating for me to work for seven days to try to show them how Tottenham play and how good they are if we let them play, then we go on the pitch and seven minutes later we are losing 1-0.
“These mistakes were made last week and the week before, but the worst and most frustrating thing for me was the attitude, especially in the first half because in the second half we were completely different.”
However Karanka insisted he retains belief in his current squad having pointed to their misfortune at home to Crystal Palace and a strong start against Everton at Goodison Park last week.
Karanka added: “It’s not about ability because we knew Everton have more quality players than us and Tottenham have more quality players than us. It is about convincing them that they are good players.
“It’s true we have lost three games in a row but the players know the problem. I was really pleased with the squad after the West Brom game and after three defeats I am really pleased with the squad.
“We have one week now to decide which type of team we are – if we want to be the first half team we will have problems, but if we decide to be the team who played in the second half we will win games so it is in our hands.”