London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino says both he and his Tottenham Hotspur players must “accept the criticism” after dropping to seventh place in the Premier League table.
Spurs travel to Watford on Saturday with their hopes of winning the Premier League all but extinguished following defeats at Arsenal and Leicester City either side of a home draw with West Bromwich Albion.
It is a bitter pill for Spurs fans to swallow given it is 56 years since the north London club were last crowned champions of England.
But Pochettino has vowed to “change the dynamic” in a bid to get back to winning ways.
“It’s true that we struggled against Arsenal and West Bromwich and the performance against Leicester wasn’t the best,” said Spurs manager Pochettino.
“Sometimes you need to be more clinical or a little more lucky to win the game.”
The Argentinian added: “We are in a period where we need to change the dynamic and start to build our momentum again. It’s a great opportunity to start again, against Watford.
“We need to be calm and not take decisions with emotion. It’s important to be right in how you assess the team and why we dropped points in the last few games.
“We accept the criticism because when you don’t win it is because something wrong has happened,” he said.
“We need to reduce the mistakes, be solid and try to be more clinical.”
– ‘Happy with Alli’ –
Dele Alli’s recent performances have mirrored the team’s but Pochettino refused to be too critical of the England man, who was the two-goal hero of a 3-1 Champions League victory over Real Madrid at the start of November.
“I am so happy with Dele,” he said. “He’s very talented and every game he does unbelievable things. It’s normal for a player to be up and down.
“Senior players struggle to keep a level of performance over 10 months and with Dele he is young. It is normal for a young player.”
Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama remain sidelined by injury but Harry Winks has recovered from the illness that forced him to miss the Leicester match on Tuesday.
Spurs winger Erik Lamela made his long-awaited comeback in that game, having been out for 13 months with hip problems. The Argentina international will be looking for more game time at Vicarage Road, having come off the bench to set up his side’s goal in a 2-1 defeat.
Watford will attempt to put a 4-2 loss to Manchester United behind them when they host another of England’s top clubs.
Fans of the Hornets were able to breathe a sigh of relief when Everton appointed Sam Allardyce this week instead of Marco Silva, who had been a target for the Goodison Park role.
Watford defender Marvin Zeegelaar has revealed that his side, currently eighth, are delighted their head coach is staying, but insists there can be no repeat of Tuesday’s first-half display.
“We have another big game against Tottenham now but we must play like we did in the second half otherwise they will punish us,” he said.
“We want to win all the games, even against the big clubs. We have shown already that we can do it as we have beaten Arsenal here.”
“We want to finish as high as possible,” added Zeegelaar, whose side will kick-off three points behind Tottenham. “We have some good players. So the sky is the limit.”
Silva still has a doubt over defender Miguel Britos, who limped out of the 3-0 win at Newcastle United last week and missed the Man United match.