Jermain Defoe looked to have claimed us a point at least from this New Year's Day fixture when he volleyed home for 1-1 with 11 minutes remaining.
However, Martin Laursen rose unchallenged to head home Gareth Barry's corner in the 85th minute and the home side - who, in fairness, created the better chances - banked all three points.
"It was a great effort by the team," said O'Neill. "We deserved to be in front at half-time but knew Tottenham were going to come back into it and I thought we were getting tired.
"We had a chance to make it 2-0 and that would have taken a lot of pressure off us and Tottenham were then galvanised by their goal and we had to re-adjust to try and win the game.
"To me, that was the biggest thing. We were getting tired but we had to come back, find more energy and determination to try and win it.
"We knew beforehand that Tottenham are inclined to bring off a defender and bring on a striker when they are chasing a game and it happened again. That's when a second goal can peg them back but when that doesn't happen, they are going for it and they've Keane, Berbatov, Defoe all with possibilities of turning a game.
"We conceded ground for 10 or 15 minutes and we're not good enough to dominate against Tottenham for a whole game. They came back into it, scored a wonderful equaliser and that's why for me, the biggest thing was from that point, re-adjusting and winning the game."
Martin O'Neill praised his Villa side for finding a winner after we'd pegged them back with an equaliser at Villa Park.