Thursday 22 August 2019

Spurs should be happy with current Premier League position, insists Pochettino

Arsenal can close the gap on their north London rivals to one point with victory at Wembley on Saturday lunchtime.

Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham should be content with their Premier League position (Mike Egerton/PA)
Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham should be content with their Premier League position (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Matt McGeehan, Press Association Sport

Mauricio Pochettino reckons Tottenham would be delighted to be in their present Premier League position had it been offered to them at the start of the season.

A 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on Wednesday night followed last Saturday’s loss at Burnley and lessened Spurs’ already slim Premier League title hopes. Leaders Liverpool and second-placed Manchester City are nine and eight points clear, respectively.

Pochettino’s men are four points ahead of fourth-placed Arsenal, their opponents at Wembley on Saturday, with Manchester United a point further back and Chelsea seven points adrift of Spurs with a game in hand.

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Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham were disappointing in Wednesday’s loss at Chelsea (Nick Potts/PA)

Pochettino said: “Everyone from the beginning of the season should be satisfied with that position before playing on Saturday, with the possibility of playing against Arsenal at Wembley with the gap at four points.

“The pressure is on them, not only us.”

Pochettino acknowledges the occasion of a derby, but says every game is significant.

“Today Chelsea and Arsenal are the same level in terms of rivalry,” he added.

“We are playing Fulham, Watford, West Ham, Arsenal, Chelsea… they’re all London derbies.

“We are going to try and win the game because they’re so important for the fans. But Burnley was important for the fans, too.

“The rivalry is so important because of the history, but every game, for us, is so important.”

Tottenham did not get a shot on target throughout the match in a disappointing performance at Stamford Bridge and were undone by poor moments in defence.

Pedro seized upon uncertainty and shot between Hugo Lloris’ legs before the Spurs goalkeeper was beaten by Kieran Trippier’s own goal in a costly misunderstanding.

Lloris said: “Obviously the goals we conceded we could have avoided, then we need to do more defensively and offensively. Only together we can find the solution.”

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Pedro scored Chelsea’s first in the win over Tottenham (Simon Cooper/PA)

Chelsea next play at Fulham on Sunday and have 11 games remaining, one more than their rivals for Champions League qualification.

Pedro told Chelsea TV: “These kind of games for us are so important, to recover our confidence, our best football.

“Now every game is a final for us, to get the points until the end to get in the top four.”

The build-up for Chelsea was overshadowed by Kepa Arrizabalaga’s refusal to be substituted in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final with Manchester City, which the Blues lost 4-3 on penalties.

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Willy Caballero, left, started for Chelsea against Tottenham as Kepa Arrizabalaga was demoted (Nick Potts/PA)

Willy Caballero took Kepa’s place against Spurs, as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper was demoted two days after being fined a week’s wages for the incident.

Pedro alluded to the challenging build-up, saying: “It’s been a difficult situation this week, speaking about Kepa and Willy.

“For us, it’s good. The most important thing is to stay focused on the game.

“A great result for us. It’s so important to win this derby in front of our supporters.”

PA Media

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