Pochettino: I will not permit Old Trafford rumours to distract me
Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham Hotspur must "fight and be consistent" to have any chance of winning the title and promised that he will not be distracted by "rumours" that he is wanted by Manchester United.
The Spurs manager also described a horrible challenge by Everton keeper Jordan Pickford on Dele Alli as a "tough action". He hopes that Alli, who was replaced at half-time, is suffering only from "fatigue".
The impressive 6-2 win away to Everton opened the debate as to whether Spurs can make the title race between three teams.
"Football is about being consistent," Pochettino said. "If we are able to be consistent and able to play the way that we played then, yes, maybe we arrive to the end of April being a contender."
However, he added: "I still believe that Liverpool and Manchester City are the real contenders and the favourites to win the Premier League and then we are there - Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, still a long way. I think it's still a long way to say we are real contenders or not. We need to be cautious and go step by step and game by game."
Certainly Spurs' impressive performance did not suggest United's interest in their manager, who they want to hire at the end of the season, is in danger of derailing their campaign.
A question about whether Pochettino would pledge his future to Spurs was met by another intervention by head of media Simon Felstein. But Pochettino said: "I think it is fantastic to win that game and I think I am so happy to start the Christmas period in that way. Yes, I think they (the Spurs fans) deserve everything. Talking about rumours, there are a lot of rumours that happen."
On Pickford's lunge at Alli, Pochettino said: "I think it wasn't a great action. I didn't want to say nothing because I didn't see on the video. But for some comment I think it was a tough action."
Everton manager Marco Silva said: "Really bad afternoon for us; really bad result for us as a team and for our fans." He added that the key moment came when a "goal" by Dominic Calvert-Lewin was harshly disallowed for a push.
"We scored a second goal and in my opinion that was key," Silva said.
"Talking about the referee is not my way, but I didn't see nothing there and 2-0 it would be a really different match. We made the first mistake when they equalised and the game changed completely.
"We have to be more smart, more aggressive if you want to do the right things and compete at a high level." (© Daily Telegraph, London)