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Pochettino relieved Spurs destiny still in own hands


London (AFP) – Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said Tuesday he is pleased his side still have Champions League qualification in their own hands as they prepare for a nervy end to the Premier League season.

Spurs are just two points ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea going into the final two games of the season, the first of which sees Newcastle visit Wembley on Wednesday.

Pochettino’s men are limping over the line, having been 10 points clear of their London rivals at the start of April and Saturday’s last-gasp defeat to West Brom has made it a nerve-wracking end to the season.

With the club set to move to a new 62,000-capacity stadium next season, there is huge pressure to secure the riches and prestige that comes with Champions League football.

Victories over Newcastle and then Leicester on Sunday would see Spurs book a third successive year in the Champions League and Pochettino says his side remain in pole position.

“It’s sure everyone from the beginning of the season (would have signed up) to be in that situation at the end of the season, fighting for the top four,” he said at his pre-match press conference.

“I think today it’s more about being focused as a team, as a club and trying to win the last two games and be sure in the top four because it’s in our hands.”

Despite a failure to push for the title this season after more sustained challenges in the previous two campaigns, Pochettino described his team’s season as “amazing”.

“You finish second in the league, you move to Wembley and of course there’s a lot of fears because the Champions League wasn’t great the previous season,” he said.

“If you analyse all in context I think it’s an amazing season — to have the possibility with two games left to finish third, I think it’s massively successful. But I understand people want more. We want more. We’re ambitious.

“For me it’s like a marathon, to create a team capable of winning, to build a winning mentality is like a marathon.”

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