James Maddison has urged Tottenham to keep acting like a “top team” after they headed into the international break still unbeaten in the Premier League.
Spurs have faced Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal during their first eight league fixtures under new boss Ange Postecoglou and collected 20 points out of a possible 24.
It represents Tottenham’s best start to a league season since their 1960-61 double-winning campaign, but they were forced to produce a different type of display on Saturday in a hard-fought 1-0 win at Luton, where they played the whole of the second half with 10 men.
“You get the same three points here as you do beating Liverpool and United at home,” Maddison said. “It’s just as important. I absolutely loved the character of the lads.
“You have 38 games in a season and not every game is going pretty, scoring goals, free-flowing, ‘AngeBall’.
“Sometimes you have to dig deep and show the grit and determination. People are always asking top teams, do they have that side to them? The top teams all do and we want to be a top team. I’m so happy we showed that.”
Ex-Celtic boss Postecoglou has only worked with this group of players since July, but they have quickly taken to his front-foot, attacking philosophy.
Spurs have scored 18 goals in the Premier League with summer recruit Maddison involved in seven and topping the assist charts with five so far after he set up Micky van de Ven’s winner on Saturday, but he insists they remain a work in progress.
He added: “We’re so early into the manager’s reign. We’re at the start. Even in training, sometimes the messages he’s giving us, it’s still new, we’re still working on it. It’s not like we’re three years in.
“When you’ve worked with a manager for a long time, like when I was at Leicester with Brendan (Rodgers), I had been there that long I knew what he wanted from me.
“I’d realise who we were playing at the weekend and have an idea of what my role would be at the weekend before we’d even trained or worked on it. You get that partnership and relationship.
“We’re so early, we’re still at the start of that. It’s not about getting carried away.
“Of course, it’s better to be up that end than the other end. Believe me, I’ve done both! I just want to continue that, continue working and that will leave it us where it leaves us.”
Tottenham went top of the table on Saturday but Maddison played down talk of a title tilt yet.
“We’ve played Arsenal, we’ve played Liverpool, we’ve played United. Coming here, it’s just a different type of challenge but it’s still tough,” the England international said.
“Just because you’re playing Luton, it doesn’t mean there is more time or more space. It’s just a different challenge.
“I probably didn’t expect us to be top of the league, unbeaten, no.
“Realistically you would never even guess that far ahead. You just want to start well and we’re looking to continue that.”