Spurs continue title chase in style
Pochettino says his players have learned lessons from last season’s title race
Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham have learned their lesson from the disappointing end-of-season run-in a year ago and will continue their Premier League title chase until the death.
Goals from Mousa Dembele, Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Vincent Janssen completed a 4-0 victory over Bournemouth at White Hart Lane as Tottenham moved within four points of leaders Chelsea, who were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United on Easter Sunday.
Spurs were in a similar position last year but faltered at the tail end of the season as Pochettino’s men went from second place to fourth in the standings.
But Pochettino insists his side wasted too much energy focusing on their rivals and now feels Tottenham are more equipped to ensure the title chase continues until the last game of the season.
“I think we learned a lot,” the Spurs boss said. “That was a very bad period at the end of last season. We expended a lot of energy fighting against Leicester, but against West Brom, against Chelsea, against the media. We fought against everyone. But now we are focusing on fighting our opponents when we play.
“Then we spend time and energy on preparing ourselves to compete in the best way. We have improved a lot, from the beginning of the season that was our chance to improve our mentality, our belief and I think you can see the group and the team have improved.”
Pochettino also admitted that he has preached the importance of goal difference playing a factor in the title run-in this season.
After another 4-0 win and clean sheet, Spurs now hold the best goal difference in the league and Pochettino feels that this, coupled with their defensive stability, has helped create a winning mentality at the club.
When asked if goal difference will be important this season, Pochettino said: “It’s so important. The only way to build that winning mentality is to always play in the same tempo, with the same focus during the 90 minutes.
“3-0, 4-0, it’s important to keep possession, to score goals and that is the mentality we are building. Four points is still a lot . . . But they [Chelsea] are still the favourites to win the Premier League.
“We are fighting for ourselves, for the second consecutive season we are there, and I think that is a great credit for players and the club.”
That was a very bad period at the end of last season. We expended a lot of energy fighting against Leicester, but against West Brom, against Chelsea, against the media
Meanwhile, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe insisted there was no news on the severity of Jack Wilshere’s injury. Tottenham fans cheered in delight as the on-loan Arsenal midfielder hobbled off with a leg injury in the second-half.
Wilshere was seen on crutches and wearing a protective boot on his left foot as he left White Hart Lane, but Howe felt that the atmosphere was difficult for his whole team.
“I think it was difficult for all of our team, not just Jack,” he said. “We would have wanted to perform much better as a group, we didn’t do it, credit to them [Tottenham].”