London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino insists his Tottenham Hotspur side are building a winning mentality and will be ready to pounce if Chelsea stumble in the race for the Premier League title race.
Spurs’ emphatic 4-0 victory over Watford at White Hart Lane kept the pressure on league leaders Chelsea.
But the odds are still heavily stacked in favour of the championship trophy returning to Stamford Bridge after Saturday also saw the Blues beat Bournemouth 3-1 to stay seven points clear at the top.
Spurs manager Pochettino, though, insists his side will not give up and are developing the winning mentality that will allow them to step up their challenge in the future even if they fall short on this occasion.
“We’re talking about building that winning mentality: it was a good opportunity to be aware than in the future to win trophies, to keep going, pushing, believing, and respect the way you play,” he said. “That’s the most important thing.
“The message for us is to keep pushing, winning games. That’s our job, and then what happens this afternoon with Chelsea is their problem.
“We’ll see. If they fail, our job is done because we are there, but still it’s up to them to win the Premier League,” added Pochettino of Spurs’ title battle with London rivals Chelsea.
– ‘All about the team’ –
First-half goals from Dele Alli, Eric Dier and Son Heung-Min put Tottenham in control at their White Hart Lane ground on Saturday, with Son’s second goal, nine minutes into the second half, completing the victory.
A successful afternoon for Spurs was capped by the return of England striker Harry Kane after injury but Argentinian boss Pochettino was convinced his squad had already shown they were strong enough to cope with the loss of a key player.
“We talk about players, managers, a lot of topics in football, but football for me is about the team, or the squad, and all the players feel very important during the season,” he said.
“Today’s a very good example, to try to change our mentality. It’s not about who plays, it’s about playing in every opportunity.
“The fans want to know what happens with different players, but football today is going in a completely different direction to 10, 15 years ago; today it’s a collective matter, more than before.
“If you don’t show a strong mentality, in 25 players, you’re not going to be able to rotate, give opportunities to others, to feel important to the project. It’s so difficult to win titles.”
The former Southampton manager, bidding to guide Tottenham to their first English title since 1961, added: “For us it’s now to be focused on the next game. That is the most important. If not, you start to spend time away from reality.
“It’s important to be patient, to work hard and try to prepare the game in the best condition to win the game.”
Watford coach Walter Mazzarri insisted his side were unfortunate to find themselves on the wrong end of a one-sided scoreline and believes they have made progress over the course of the season.
“Tottenham were phenomenal,” he said. “Top players, very technical, on the bench top players, on the bench top player. But if we would have had more luck then maybe we could have made their life more difficult.
“If we look at what happened this year in general, I am convinced we could have done better but we are doing a good tournament.
“If you consider the games we have lost because of the injuries especially to defenders. I don’t want to say we have had an excellent season, but a very good one.”