Ange Postecoglou says he is happy for Tottenham Hotspur fans to keep dreaming after their victory against Crystal Palace took them five points clear at the top of the Premier League.
An own-goal from Palace defender Joel Ward and Son Heung-min's eighth goal of the season put Spurs in control at Selhurst Park before Jordan Ayew smashed home a consolation for the Eagles deep into injury-time.
The victory means Tottenham increased their lead over Manchester City and North London rivals Arsenal who are in action on Saturday and Sunday against Sheffield United and Manchester United, respectively.
And while Postecoglou had made a point of playing down title talk before Friday's game, he also insisted afterwards that he was “not going to dampen” fans' enthusiasm after a fantastic start to the season.
“Let them dream. That's what being a football supporter is all about. It's fair to say this lot have suffered a fair bit, so I'm certainly not going to dampen that,” said Postecoglou, whose team is unbeaten after 10 games, winning eight and drawing two.
“Top of the table is great and the results are great but it's more in the manner we're doing it. Pretty much from the first game we've had all sorts of different challenges we've had to overcome.
“Every time there has been a real focus and clear-headedness about the group collectively to deal with that.
“That has been a really pleasing thing and because they're getting rewards from that, then that gives us the opportunity to accelerate the growth of giving them more tools out there to help them for whatever we need to overcome.
“I thought tonight was going to be a real difficult game for us. Coming here, Palace's result last week, it's a tight ground, they'd only conceded three goals in the four games so far and how were the lads going to cope with the fact we weren't going to create as many chances as we had been?
“I really liked the way we worked through that as a group.”
After returning to the Premier League summit with a 2-0 win over Fulham on Monday, Spurs struggled in the first-half at Selhurst Park and were indebted to fine early saves from Guglielmo Vicario to deny Ayew and Odsonne Edouard.
Postecoglou, who had criticised his side for their second-half showing earlier in the week, introduced Emerson Royal for Ben Davies at the break and watched Ward put into his own net from James Maddison's cross to open the scoring.
It was 2-0 when Son fired home for his eighth goal of the campaign following Brennan Johnson's smart pass, his first assist since a £45 million deadline-day transfer from Nottingham Forest.
While Ayew managed to reduce the deficit – in the fourth minute of stoppage time after a lengthy VAR check – Tottenham stood firm to claim a fourth-straight win and show another side with a dogged defensively display, despite enjoying more than 70 per cent possession.
It was Palace's second defeat in a row, coming on the back of a 4-0 thrashing at Newcastle United that manager Roy Hodgson had called “not anywhere near good enough”.
They have now won just once in five games and sit 11th in the table, with Hodgson again critical of his players – and himself – after their latest defeat.
“If the game had ended with us continuing as we had done in the first half and coming away with a result at the end of the game, even a draw, I would have been sitting here really pleased with what I had seen,” said the 76-year-old coach. “There was no disappointment today.
“Maybe, that the young substitutes who we like to think we believe in or that will help us to a different level, they didn't show that.
“They didn't do anything for us at all really, we became much weaker when I made the substitutions.”