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LEICESTER -- Steven Bergwijn's low shot might have been dribbling into the bottom corner at a snail's pace but everything else associated with Tottenham was exploding into life on a night that may yet prove to be a defining moment of Antonio Conte's first season in charge.

This was the manager's will to win imprinted over the Spursy label that is so often imprinted on Tottenham. They seemed incapable of winning a match in which they were dominant. He would not allow it to be lost. And so two injury-time goals by Bergwijn turned a 2-1 defeat into three points that move Spurs into fifth, within touching distance of UEFA Champions League qualification.

Victory was no less than they deserved. Tottenham are an attacking force once more. Harry Kane is a volume shooter again and a threat to score in a way one might have feared he would not be again as he slumped early in the season. There is a punchiness to the way Spurs play in possession that is worlds apart from the timid, tepid football of Nuno Espirito Santo and even Jose Mourinho.

Under Conte, this side take 20 shots a game as a matter of course. Wednesday night it was a gaudy 27. Nuno's side would on occasion need three games to reach that tally. There is so much the Italian has improved. There is just as much that needs to get better, but perhaps that can be forgotten for the time being after this thrilling victory.

For all that this felt like a win defined by his fighting spirit, Conte would tell you that he is not the one who deserves the credit. "I think we played a good game, created many chances to score and were unlucky," he said. "But my team showed they don't want to give up and until the end we have to fight.

"We showed great desire not to lose this game. This is a compliment for my players and team, not for me." He also reaffirmed his desire to strengthen a side that showed clear deficiencies even in victory, all but ruling out selling Bergwijn amid interest from Ajax before adding that "if there is the possibility in this transfer market to improve numerically it will be very important." A top-four finish is there for the taking but cannot be taken for granted.

With or without new signings this team is taking on the complexion of their manager. The returning Sergio Reguilon looks like the archetypal Conte wing back, exploding beyond his opponent and into the penalty area. A midfield trio of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Harry Winks and Oliver Skipp hardly quickens the heart when laid out on a team sheet but all three were where they needed to be as the ball fizzed around the Leicester third.

Then there was Kane, playing like the forward Conte has long insisted he ought to be. Working as a pundit at Euro 2020, the Italian said he would "always keep him in [the box] because he's devastating." In that spot, he twisted and turned, drawing defenders to him before firing a low shot across goal and beyond Kasper Schemichel. Luke Thomas cleared off the line, one of a brace of last-yard interventions from Leicester defenders before the break.

If the England captain was not stalking the penalty area, he was lurking on the last shoulder, ready to pounce on Leicester's profligacy in possession. Kane may not be as fleet of foot as he once was but he had more than enough in the tank to outpace Caglar Soyuncu, a shadow of the center back who once asserted his will on the Premier League's best forwards. To compound the error of a misjudged offside line, Soyuncu dived in rashly as Kane feinted to fire, sat down on the floor before the Spurs striker curled the ball beyond Schmeichel.

Kane was devastating and could have had far more than that one goal. His own personal expected goals tally was 1.68, more than he has managed in any full Premier League game since April. Moments after opening the scoring, he should have doubled it, blazing over from just outside the box after Leicester had once more given him the opportunity to break in behind.

This sort of Kane looks like a player that can paper over the cracks that remain in this side. That is perhaps underselling the problem on Spurs' right flank, like labelling the Grand Canyon a modest fissure. It could scarcely have been a more inviting path to goal for Leicester if it were dotted with pieces of candy.

So great were Emerson Royal's struggles out there that Conte felt compelled to turn to Matt Doherty at the interval, an act of mercy from this famously ruthless manager. Had he not, Spurs might have been in for the greatest Royal crisis since Wallace Simpson. The tide was relentless whenever Leicester got the ball down the left, and though the game's opening goal was firmly against the run of play, one could not say the warning signs weren't there.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall charged forward with energy as the confusion spread from the Spurs right across the backline. No one could quite hack away the danger as the ball pinballed around the box, breaking for Patson Daka to squeeze the ball past Hugo Lloris at the near post.

This undermanned Leicester underwhelmed to say the least. After a bright start, Youri Tielemans looked several yards off the pace. James Maddison spurned a tempting shooting opportunity just before the hour. Their hodgepodge defense was scarcely keeping it together, a Hamza Choudury pass straight to the opposition typical of a skittish performance at the back.

Yet, it was ultimately Spurs who switched off. Leicester executed the move for their second goal smartly enough but a top-tier defense ought not to be so easily undone as they were by a simple give and go, Davinson Sanchez and Ben Davies all at sea before Japhet Tanganga slid in to deflect Maddison's shot past Lloris.

The period after their second was Leicester's best in the game and Harvey Barnes might have killed the game off on the break as the clock wore down. For a moment, that familiar raggedy play was creeping back into Spurs' play, defenders too easily turned at one end, Kane trying to do it all at the other. Chief among those losing their cool was Bergwijn, booked for a blatant dive and a shove.

Little wonder the Leicester crowd were apoplectic when it was the Dutch international on hand to turn in Doherty's blocked shot. This was to be more than a point rescued though. Yet again the Foxes were undone by the simple ball in behind them. Soyuncu had nowhere near the pace to keep up with Bergwijn as raced onto Kane's through ball, rounding Schmeichel and striking the killer blow. Cue bedlam in the away end. The ENIC out chants swiftly dissipated. "Antonio, Antonio" was the cry. With Conte at the helm they believe. They are right to do so.