Poch spurred on by top-four target
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.
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.