Friday 24 January 2020

We still fresh and up for the fight, Pochettino warns Leicester

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino has warned Leicester his players are as fresh as they were at the start of the season and ready for a sprint finish to win the title.

Spurs are now eight points behind Leicester after the Foxes hammered Swansea 4-0 on Sunday, but can close the gap back to five with a win at home to West Brom on Monday night.

Concerns that Pochettino's pressing style of play and intense training methods might lead to fatigue have been allayed, with his side losing only once in the league since January and taking 14 points from the last 18 available.

Tottenham have four games left to catch Leicester and Pochettino believes his players are now running further and fighting harder with the finishing line in sight.

"I think we are as strong as at the start of the season, we are at the same level, maybe the difference is our opponents," Pochettino said.

"The data is similar at the beginning to now because now we can see the finish line.

"We don't arrive yet, this is important, but our motivation is good and then you can run more. It is always in our mind and we are in a very good moment.

"We need to fight to achieve big things like winning the title."

Tottenham may also have been spurred on by the suspension to Jamie Vardy, who missed Leicester's game against Swansea and could also have to sit out next week's match at Manchester United.

Vardy was clearly not missed against the Swans, but his ban could yet prove a tipping point in the title race, although Pochettino insists he will not be urging caution upon his own youthful squad.

"In football you can never send the message be careful to the players. They need to feel free to play," Pochettino said.

"If you translate this message you put this idea in their heads and you a put a limit on them. I think we feel free, without pressure.

"We showed it on Monday, we played very well and the way we took the game was fantastic."

Tottenham's emphatic victory over Stoke last week proved they are ready to push Leicester all the way, but they still have a mountain to climb, with games against Chelsea, Southampton and Newcastle to come after facing the Baggies. Leicester play Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea.

Pochettino says he knew Spurs would win at the Britannia Stadium, just from his players' mood before the game, and the Argentinian wants to maintain that drive during the final four games of the season.

"It was fantastic before the Stoke game, in the warm-up and when they arrived on the pitch," Pochettino said.

"You could feel we were ready to compete and the trust between each other was fantastic. It felt impossible we wouldn't get the three points.

"You can feel that from them. When you achieve that, it is fantastic and we need to fight now not to lose this feeling."

PA Media

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