Saturday, March 23, 2019

Pochettino: Impossible for Spurs to fight City and Liverpool for title

SoccerNews in English Premier League 27 Feb 2019

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Mauricio Pochettino conceded it is “impossible” for Tottenham to fight Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title following back-to-back defeats.

After a 2-1 loss to Burnley on Saturday, Tottenham’s hopes were dealt a major blow with Wednesday’s 2-0 reverse against London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Pedro’s opener that went through Hugo Lloris’ legs and Kieran Trippier’s own goal left third-place Tottenham nine points behind leaders Liverpool and eight adrift of defending champions City after 28 matches.

“In the small details we lose. We made mistakes and lost the game, that is why we are disappointed, we weren’t capable of playing our way,” Spurs manager Pochettino told the BBC.

“Chelsea had one shot on target and one goal and we didn’t shoot – it’s difficult that way to win and we weren’t solid enough. In the small details the result was decided for Chelsea.

“The competition will put us in our place. It’s a 10-month competition, not just three or four months. We are disappointed now.

“After Burnley I said it was difficult, and tonight makes it impossible to fight Man City and Liverpool. Only they can win the league – we must fight to win games and to be fair.”

In his post-match news conference, Pochettino told reporters: “Chelsea is a difficult place to play, as history shows. I think we won last season here after 27 years.

“Today we competed. We maybe didn’t compete at our best. We didn’t show the quality we have, for different reasons. We are in a period now that looks like it started against Burnley – up to Burnley, the team were getting a lot of praise.

“But two games in a few days, two defeats, and very disappointed. But it’s about being calm. It won’t change my assessment of the players. We need to support them, lift them and help them to compete on Saturday.”

Following the loss, Tottenham are now closer to fourth-place Arsenal – who are within four points – than City.

In-form Manchester United are only a point further back as Tottenham prepare to welcome rivals Arsenal to Wembley on Saturday.

Asked if he was concerned about Tottenham’s place in the top four, Pochettino said: “I am not afraid. I have freedom in my mind, the same feeling I had before. If people are scared now about the top four, that is football.

“After two defeats, maybe we’re not there and not content, but we need to keep going and try to be ready for the next game. But it’s not a drama.”

Pochettino added: “I don’t care about the pressure to play against Arsenal, Chelsea or Burnley. It’s the same feeling for me. We need to be ready to compete and give our best. If we win, I’ll be happy. If we don’t win, I’ll be as unhappy as I am now.

“Everyone from the beginning of the season should be satisfied with that position before playing on Saturday. Everyone should have said that eight or 10 months ago, to be with the possibility of playing against Arsenal at Wembley with the gap at four points [would be good]. The pressure is on them, not only us.”

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