Eddie Howe hopes Bournemouth can beat Spurs at their own game
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe reckons Tottenham's high-pressing tactics under Mauricio Pochettino means they are genuine title contenders again this season, but hopes to beat them at their own game o n Saturday.
Spurs head to the Vitality Stadium as the only team still unbeaten in the Premier League this season, albeit only after a late equaliser from Dele Alli at West Brom last weekend.
Pochettino's men have impressed with plenty of energetic displays so far, which included a 2-0 win over Manchester City at the start of October.
Only two points separate the Premier League's top four, Arsenal now level with City on goal difference and Spurs in third place, with Liverpool one back while Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United are also within striking distance.
Howe believes Spurs can sustain their challenge this term, having faded last season as Leicester went on to secure a shock title win with the Gunners edging them out to finish as runners-up.
"Yes, I think so (Spurs can be genuine title contenders)," Howe said at a press conference. " It is a really competitive league, as everyone knows, with the teams we have at the top of the league. It's going to be a really interesting mix to see what happens.
"They (Spurs) have got an outstanding manager, I think he is up there with the very best.
"The way that his teams play, they don't change. The intensity they play at is very hard to play against. When you add that to a very talented squad, I think they have a real good chance (of the title)."
Howe continued: "They play really good football, we try and pride ourselves on that as well.
"But the main thing which impresses me is off the ball, they have really talented players. It is very easy for the hugely talented guys not to have a great work ethic, but that is instilled by the manager.
"They really work, they press you and it is very difficult to play under their pressing.
"It is well documented at the moment, managers like (Jurgen) Klopp (at Liverpool) and Pochettino, how hard their teams work. T hat is full credit to them.
"We would like to think we are trying to get to their level and I think they are one of the markers for us."
Spurs beat Bournemouth 5-1 at the Vitality Stadium last season and Howe does not intend his team to make the same mistakes again.
He added: "Our experiences in the league have made us a little bit more hardened as to what to expect.
"Our belief and confidence levels are different to what they were, but they have to be proved out on the pitch."
Following their own 6-1 romp over Hull last weekend, Bournemouth are in 11th place with 11 points from eight games.
Howe, though, knows his squad cannot afford to rest on their laurels after a three-match unbeaten run.
"It was a good week, but after that it has been about settling back down to work and focusing on what is going to be an incredibly tough game," the Cherries boss said.
"We are confident with the way the team is developing and feel there is a lot more to come, but time will tell."