Mauricio Pochettino is untroubled by the prospect of Tottenham falling nine points behind Liverpool when the Premier League leaders visit Manchester City on Thursday.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have the opportunity to land a major blow in the title race as they seek to condemn the champions to a fourth defeat in six top-flight fixtures.
Victory would give the Reds a commanding 10-point advantage over Pep Guardiola’s side and a comfortable buffer to second-placed Spurs, who gave up ground in a costly 3-1 loss to Wolves last weekend.
Tottenham’s hopes of scaling the summit hinge heavily on a Liverpool slip-up but Pochettino denied he would be quietly cheering on City.
“We’re going to try to enjoy the game. I said before it’s a game to enjoy in a neutral position,” Pochettino said.
“What happens, happens and we’ll be there close [to the leaders]. But my interest is to try to enjoy the game. I can’t affect the game.
“I’m not going to suffer for [the result]. Either way it is going to be okay, not a problem. We need to be focused on us.”
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 3, 2019
Tottenham’s title credentials will be further tested when in-form forward Son Heung-min leaves for the Asian Cup after the January 13 date with Manchester United, with the South Korea star to miss up to five competitive club matches.
Pochettino dismissed suggestions Spurs would specifically seek a replacement in the transfer window and rubbished reports linking the club with a move for Hull City winger Jarrod Bowen, who has scored 11 goals in 26 Championship appearances this season.
“I heard this name for the first time yesterday. It’s like many names that appear in the media – rumours,” he said of the 22-year-old.
“How many players are today in the media that are related with Tottenham, and have been in the past?
“Be careful because hundreds of players were related with the club and then never happened. I think my answer is so clear.”
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