Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham must ignore Leicester City’s apparent advantage in playing first this weekend as they seek to keep pace with their Premier League title rivals.
League leaders Leicester are in action away at struggling Sunderland in the early kick-off on Sunday, meaning the Foxes, should they win, will be 10 points clear at the top when Tottenham begin their match away to Manchester United later the same day.
Pochettino, though, expects his players not to dwell on the vagaries of the fixture list as they go in search of three vital points at Old Trafford.
“It is important for us to be focused and prepared for our games and we cannot change when Leicester play, we have simply got to make sure our own shop is in order and make sure we fight, because a lot can happen in football,” he said.
“In football you need to believe that things can change. If Leicester fail, we need to make sure we stay there.
“Our challenge is to compete until the end of the season and have the chance to win the title until the last game.
“We would like to go to Newcastle on the final day with the possibility to win the league.”
Tottenham will lose Eric Dier to a two-match suspension if the holding midfielder picks up a 10th yellow card of the Premier League season against United, but Pochettino does not want the England international to temper his usual enthusiastic approach in a bid to avoid a ban.
“In football you can always get a chance of a yellow card and it is a big risk for us,” said the former Southampton coach.
“But we have a big squad and … you need to play 100 per cent and give your best.”
Argentina international Erik Lamela could join the matchday squad after recovering from a calf injury, according to the Tottenham boss.
“Erik Lamela is expected to be available for Sunday and has trained well all week,” he said.
“We have another training session tomorrow and we will see.”