Poch spurred on by top-four tar­get

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Lon­don

Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino reck­oned Tot­ten­ham is back in the Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion hunt af­ter bat­tling back for a 2-1 win against Burn­ley.

Po­chet­tino’s side moved within one point of fourth­place Arse­nal, ahead of the piv­otal Christ­mas sched­ule thanks to its spir­ited per­for­mance at White Hart Lane on Sun­day.

Af­ter this sea­son’s dis­ap­point­ing group-stage exit in the Cham­pi­ons League, Po­chet­tino wants an­other taste of Europe’s elite com­pe­ti­tion.

Tot­ten­ham is four points bet­ter off than at the same stage last year, leav­ing Po­chet­tino be­liev­ing it is on course.

“We are fight­ing very close to the top four and that is im­por­tant,” said Po­chet­tino.

“In the Pre­mier League it is very hard to win games. Ev­ery game is so tough to earn three points.

“But it’s an­other step in the right di­rec­tion. I think our po­si­tion is good, now we are win­ning games and we are a lit­tle bit closer to the sec­ond po­si­tion.

“It is not to­mor­row, it is not in a few weeks that we fin­ish the league. It’s still a long way to the end of the sea­son.

“We are in a po­si­tion that we can at­tack the sec­ond half of the sea­son and try to push a lit­tle bit more.”

Tot­ten­ham was far from its best and was forced to come from be­hind af­ter Ash­ley Barnes’ opener — Burn­ley’s first goal from open-play on the road this term.

Dele Alli equal­ized but a com­bi­na­tion of poor fin­ish­ing, or­ga­nized de­fend­ing and Clarets goal­keeper Tom Heaton kept the host at bay un­til Danny Rose’s 71st-minute de­ci­sive strike.

“The man­ager al­ways tells us to re­main pa­tient. You have to at times against teams that sit back,” said full­back Rose.

“The gaffer (man­ager) does not like my­self and Kyle (Walker) both be­ing high up the pitch at the same time but changed that tac­tic here.

“Kyle got his as­sist and I got the goal. The man­ager got his tac­tics spot-on.”

Burn­ley looks cer­tain to be rel­e­gated, but man­ager Sean Dy­che thinks his side is show­ing signs it can cure its away­day woes.

“We are a work in progress, but we have taken strides for­ward in the last cou­ple of games,” Dy­che said.

“A lot has been made of our away form, but we are get­ting there. But we do need the rub of the green.”

Dy­che felt Spurs’ French mid­fielder Moussa Sis­soko should have been sent off for a dan­ger­ous tackle on Clarets’ Ir­ish de­fender Stephen Ward. To add in­sult to in­jury, sub­sti- tute Sis­soko set up Rose’s win­ner.

“It was a blind chal­lenge, a high chal­lenge and sim­ply should have been a red (card),” Dy­che said.

DY­LAN MARTINEZ / REUTERS

Burn­ley scorer Ash­ley Barnes holds off Tot­ten­ham’s Vic­tor Wanyama dur­ing Spurs’ 2-1 English Pre­mier League win at White Hart Lane in Lon­don on Sun­day.

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