Friday 22 September 2017

'We can achieve big things' - There is talk of a title challenge at Tottenham following brilliant win over Chelsea

Jan Vertonghen believesTottenham will have to oust other title rivals if they are to be crowned champions
Jan Vertonghen believesTottenham will have to oust other title rivals if they are to be crowned champions

Matt McGeehan

Mauricio Pochettino challenged his Tottenham side to maintain their intensity and achieve "big things" after ending Chelsea's 13-game winning run.

Spurs are now third in the Premier League, seven points behind leaders Chelsea, after Dele Alli's double earned a 2-0 win over their derby rivals at White Hart Lane.

"Our performance showed we can be competitive and we can achieve big things," Pochettino said.

"We're happy for the victory, but it's only three points. It's only one game.

"We need to be regular and consistent during the whole season.

"If we want to fight until the end of the season for big things, for trophies, you need to keep that intensity. That is always the challenge."

Spurs are one of six teams in title contention, according to Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte.

Chelsea lead second-placed Liverpool by five points with 18 matches remaining, Spurs are third, while Manchester City, Arsenal and sixth-placed Manchester United are within 10 points of the Blues.

Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli heads home his first goal of the game against Chelsea
Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli heads home his first goal of the game against Chelsea

"It was important for us to reduce the gap," Pochettino added.

Conte said: "The situation is very clear. There are six teams that can fight for the title or a place in the Champions League.

"I'm sure one of these six teams will be champions."

Chelsea were seeking a single-season record of 14 straight wins, to draw level with Arsenal's all-time record from 2002 which was spread across two campaigns.

The Blues would have gone 10 points clear of their hosts with victory, but fell short.

Chelsea's most recent prior defeat was also in north London, a 3-0 loss at Arsenal on September 24.

Conte believes his team has been transformed since.

He added: "After a defeat it's always very difficult to know your reaction. But, I think this defeat is totally different.

"It's normal when you lose a game to try to think why.

"I think that this defeat is totally different if you compare our defeats in September.

"Against Liverpool and Arsenal at that moment we weren't a team.

"(Against Spurs) we showed we are a team. We are a strong team. It's important.

"We tried to fight. We tried to win the game, or not lose. I saw the right will in my players."

Chelsea finished 10th in their title defence last term as Leicester won the Premier League. Conte has had a major impact since his summer arrival.

Conte added: "To see that we are on top of the table with the same players of last season, we must be pleased for this. We must continue to work and to improve."

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