Mauricio Pochettino praised his Tottenham players after an “important” 3-0 win at Cardiff banished the memories of Saturday’s shock home defeat to Wolves.
Spurs moved back into second place and, to within six points of Premier League leaders Liverpool, as first-half goals from Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min rewarded their superiority over Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds.
“I think it was so important (to win) and build another positive run,” Pochettino said.
“It was so important for our confidence, because in three days we are going to start another competition, the FA Cup.
“Then we are going to play the Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea.
“It was so important to start the new year with a victory, away from home in a very difficult place, against a team like Cardiff who came from beating Leicester.
“They came with massive confidence in the way they played the last game and it was a massive victory for us.
“It is three points that make us believe a little bit more in our possibility to be in a very good position in the table.”
Tottenham can now relax with a watching brief as third-placed Manchester City and Liverpool meet at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night – a game where Pochettino says he will be in a “neutral position”.
And the Spurs boss said he was delighted with the way his players handled their fourth league game in 10 days.
“Us and Everton, we were the two teams who suffered the most difficult fixtures in that period,” Pochettino said after Spurs had returned a nine-point haul from their four festive games.
“So, of course, I congratulate the players because the effort was fantastic.
“I was very pleased with the performance and we were so clinical from the beginning.
“To be 3-0 up after 20 minutes was fantastic for us and then we dominated the game.”
Cardiff remain three points above the relegation zone, with heavy home defeats against Manchester United and Tottenham bookending the four points picked up in away games at Crystal Palace and Leicester.
Boss Warnock was dismayed that no action was taken against Spurs midfielder Moussa Sissoko for a first-half challenge, and he was just as unhappy with the sloppy nature of Cardiff’s early play.
“I don’t think it was a game too far, I just thought we shot ourselves in the foot,” Warnock said.
“Man United, it was two-and-a-half minutes, today one-and-a-half minutes.
“You can’t give quality players like that a lift.
“We wanted to put them under pressure after their (Wolves) result and really it was a stroll.
“I was pleased we didn’t just fold in the second half.
“We had to play for pride and, all credit to them, they battled well in the second half when it would have been easy to roll over.”