Tottenham goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario earned praise from captain Son Heung-min following his key role in their latest victory.
Spurs made it four wins in a row after they battled to a 2-1 triumph at Crystal Palace, with Joel Ward’s 53rd-minute own goal and Son’s eighth strike of the campaign enough to earn all three points.
Jordan Ayew netted in stoppage time for the hosts, but Ange Postecoglou’s resurgent team held on and Son subsequently paid tribute to summer signing Vicario.
Vicario made two crucial early saves to deny Ayew and Odsonne Edouard, and while he missed out on a fifth clean sheet since he displaced Hugo Lloris as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper, he continues to grow his reputation.
“Before we score without Vic’s saves we are going behind and when you go behind in this stadium, you know what is going to happen. I think big credit to Vic for making unbelievable saves,” Son told SpursPlay.
“I am enjoying every single moment (with Vicario) because he made a good save, is playing out well and it is fantastic to have him behind the goal.
“Obviously any game we are going to face chances and shots on target, but when you have Vic behind us you are just very comfortable he is going to make unbelievable saves, which he did.
“Big, big credit to Vic today and also the way he play with the feet is fantastic. It brings so much to the team and I am very, very happy to have him in the team.”
Vicario has adapted to life in England immediately and been an unsung hero during Tottenham’s ascent to first place in the Premier League.
The role of top goalscorer Son has earned more headlines and he netted again on Friday, but only after a brilliant team move. Pape Sarr’s diagonal ball was headed down by Brennan Johnson to James Maddison, who touched back into Johnson’s path and he teed up the Spurs captain for a smart close-range finish.
Former Empoli goalkeeper Vicario said: “I think our second goal was a top masterclass of football from the back. Find the spare man and then he (Son) attacks the right space.
“It is easy for him to come to the back and score this kind of goal. It is a big situation we work on during the week, so we’re happy for that and we have to keep going, keep improving on that because we can do it.
“Of course we enjoy the win, we take the rest of the week and then we go again.”
A largely perfect night for Tottenham was rounded off with Rodrigo Bentancur returning from injury to play for the first time since February 11.
Bentancur suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage to his left knee in a defeat at Leicester, which curtained a fine individual campaign that had seen him score five times.
Captain Son was thrilled to see the midfielder return with a late cameo, he added: “What an unbelievable player. Having him in our squad is kind of like a new signing.
“We couldn’t wait to have him back and when he came on I was getting emotional. He is one of my good friends and last year when I suffer with injuries, he was always pushing behind me.
“I am really grateful he came back healthy.”
Palace boss Roy Hodgson was downbeat about the impact of his substitutes and called for patience with Brazilian attacker Matheus Franca after his home debut off the bench.
“They need more time,” Hodgson insisted. “The fact is I feel sorry for Franca. For some reason people have tried to imbue him with qualities that we can’t expect to see from him.
“He’s 19 years of age, he has a handful of games in Brazil behind him and now we’re asking him to play against Tottenham, the team that is running away at the top of the Premier League at the moment.”