Ex-Tottenham midfielder Gus Poyet is delighted by the job Mauricio Pochettino is doing at White Hart Lane and believes the club should finish the season ahead of London rivals Chelsea.
Spurs suffered their first defeat in the Premier League since the opening weekend of the season when they were hit by a late Newcastle United comeback on Sunday but they remain well-placed in fifth position.
Poyet believes Pochettino has established a style that makes an assault on a top-four finish possible and thinks Chelsea, another of his former employers, have it all to do if they are to close an 11-point deficit to Tottenham from their current lowly position of 16th.
“If you asked me that three months ago [who would finish higher] it would be an easy question, it would be Chelsea,” Poyet told Omnisport.
“Now it depends more on Tottenham because Tottenham are ahead and they have some points and it depends on whether they drop points or not.
“I think what Mauricio Pochettino is doing is impressive. I’m pleased he is still there and that they are backing him because he shows that he can make a team of young players play great football.
“What he did at Southampton was unique and then when you go to Tottenham the responsibilities are different. You need to do certain things in a different way.
“Last season he had good moments, some players who went to another level like Harry Kane. Now, with their system and the players understanding what he wants, I think we are seeing a Tottenham that is capable of finishing higher.”
A further 11 points better off than Tottenham are surprise leaders Leicester City, who piled further misery on Chelsea and their beleaguered boss Jose Mourinho with a stirring 2-1 victory at the King Power Stadium on Monday – star men Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez once again among the goals.
Poyet played for current Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri during his time at Stamford Bridge and the ex-Sunderland head coach concedes he is staggered by their phenomenal progress under the affable Italian.
“What Leicester are doing is the biggest surprise of the league,” he added.
“I think we were expecting them to carry on from the end of last season, to start well.
“But to be in the position that they are now, you need to put your hands up.”