Monday 20 January 2020

Mauricio Pochettino proud of Tottenham for bridging the gap to top-three clubs

Spurs have finished in fifth, third and then second place under Pochettino.

Mauricio Pochettino's are on the verge of Champions League qualification
Mauricio Pochettino's are on the verge of Champions League qualification

By Jonathan Veal, Press Association Sport

Mauricio Pochettino is proud of the manner in which Tottenham have become one of forces of English football.

Spurs are on the verge of qualifying for the Champions League for a third successive season and could go a long way to booking their place in the top four with victory over Brighton on Tuesday night.

If they do get the job done over the next couple of weeks it will represent a huge success given the difference in financial outlay with their rivals and the fact they have played this season at Wembley.

While Manchester City have run away with the Premier League this season – being crowned champions for a third time on Sunday – a second-placed finish is not out of Spurs’ reach.

Pochettino said: “In football it’s about this, it is to be clear who you are and then to try to maximise your potential.

“At Tottenham for us it is to be brave, to believe, to work hard, to work harder than other clubs that the people consider are at our level.

“But in reality you are comparing Tottenham with who? You are putting at which level, yes you put in the top four or the top six because in the last three years we were there.

“But many, many years ago, it was sixth, seventh, eighth and I remember that the day we signed here the challenge was to reduce the gap.

“Now we are there but I think for me the most important thing is that we are there with a completely different way, or different tools of course, to teams like City or Manchester United.”

The two Manchester clubs have spent big over recent years and Pochettino knows money makes a difference.

“It’s not easy, because… it’s not all about money in football, that is true,” he added. “But it helps, it helps a lot.

“It’s like happiness, you know? It’s not that if you’re a billionaire you’re going to be happy, but sure that helps a lot.

“In football it’s the same. You can work unbelievably hard, you can have these ideas on football as a coach or a coaching staff.

“But then you need the principal actors to deliver this idea and of course if you have better players, better quality… if you want a bigger house you need to pay what the market says.

“In football it’s the same, or you have a spontaneous generation like there was at Barcelona that appeared with Xavi, (Andres) Iniesta, (Lionel) Messi, (Gerard) Pique, (Cesc) Fabregas, (Carles) Puyol. Or like the ’92 generation at Manchester United.

“Of course that is not about money, that is a spontaneous generation that makes your team unbelievable.”

Pochettino has hinted that Toby Alderweireld could be brought out of the cold for the trip to face the Seagulls.

The Belgian defender has not been involved in any of the last three matchday squads as his future at the club looks increasingly bleak, having not played in the Premier League since October.

“Yes, Toby is going to be involved in the squad and then tomorrow I will decide if he is going to play or not,” the boss said.

PA Media

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