Monday 26 February 2018

Mauricio Pochettino: Tottenham fans can dream but hard work still ahead for team

Mauricio Pochettino, pictured right, was not getting carried away after Tottenham's win at Villa
Mauricio Pochettino, pictured right, was not getting carried away after Tottenham's win at Villa

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino encouraged supporters to dream of Barclays Premier League glory after Sunday's 2-0 win at Aston Villa, but warned there was plenty of hard work still ahead for his team.

Harry Kane opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time and wrapped up the points early in the second half to move Spurs two points behind leaders Leicester, who take on Newcastle on Monday.

The result boosted the north London side's hopes of a first top-flight title since 1961 but, with just eight games still to play, Pochettino was not getting carried away.

"Our supporters are right to dream and we need to dream, but keep working hard because that's the most important thing," the Argentinian said.

"We are in a good position but there's eight games and 24 points still to play for. It's a lot of points, still.

"We are in the race and this (win) has been important.

"If we compare last season with this season, we need to feel very proud and maybe we are ahead of our plan.

"We will try to win each game and see what happens."

Tottenham's win in the midlands was their first this month, having so far in March lost at West Ham and drawn with 10-man Arsenal before going down 3-0 at Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League.

Pochettino's line-up changes in Germany on Thursday evening suggested he was prioritising the title push, and victory over Villa will have gone some way to justifying that.

With Manchester City dropping points in a goalless draw at Norwich on Saturday, the top two are now firmly in charge, but the Spurs boss has refused to rule out any side yet.

"I think that mathematically, it is possible for a lot of teams still," Pochettino said. "It's too early to put some teams out of the race.

"We needed to keep the pressure on Leicester, so it was a very important victory for us. I was very pleased with the effort.

"It is a very difficult period we have come through with three games in different competitions."

Kane and England team-mate Dele Alli were inspirational in the victory, the pair combining for both goals.

"I'm very pleased for Harry Kane and happy," Pochettino added. "He's very good for the team and he's still scoring, which is great."

When asked about Alli's display, which a neat quickly taken free-kick for the first goal, Pochettino responded: "He was fantastic.

"His reaction (for the free-kick) showed how he is a very clever player and is always aware.

"It was perfect from him. He did a good pass. And it was a key moment at the end of the half."

Villa boss Remi Garde acknowledged his rock-bottom team have many areas for improvement after slipping to a fifth straight loss.

"We don't have not enough consistency in our efforts," the Frenchman said. "Football is about a lot of stuff - mentality, fitness, strategy, a lot of things. We have to improve in a lot of areas.

"This defeat is again hard to take, like every defeat. We conceded two goals at the worst possible time and that was down to a lack of communication and experience."

Press Association

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