Po­chet­tino: Top four is Spurs’ tar­get

Tot­ten­ham take on Brighton & Hove Al­bion aim­ing ce­ment grip on a Euro­pean Cup spot

The National - News - - FOOTBALL SPORT -

Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino said he saw enough in his side’s per­for­mance against Manch­ester City to be con­fi­dent for the fu­ture.

Spurs were beaten 3-1 at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium on Satur­day in a week­end of re­sults that by Sun­day night saw City crowned Premier League cham­pi­ons for a third time.

It was Tot­ten­ham’s first taste of de­feat since los­ing to Pep Guardi­ola’s side in De­cem­ber’s re­verse fix­ture, a run of 14 league games, but Po­chet­tino saw the pos­i­tives.

“Af­ter 14 games un­beaten, it was a mas­sive, mas­sive run for us,” he said. “We played Liver­pool, United, Arse­nal, Chelsea and [at] 14 games un­beaten I think the play­ers de­serve full credit.

“We are dis­ap­pointed but not frus­trated or sad be­cause when we in­creased our level and showed our real qual­ity we showed we can com­pete against Manch­ester City – the best team in Eng­land.

“That is why I am not con­cerned about the fu­ture. Yes it was 20 min­utes where we were re­ally poor, but I am not wor­ried be­cause I think the team com­peted re­ally well.”

While City will be lift­ing the Premier League trophy in a few weeks, Tot­ten­ham’s fo­cus is on qual­i­fy­ing for the Uefa Cham­pi­ons League, a tar­get they are well placed to achieve.

They lead Chelsea by seven points and can stretch that to 10 with vic­tory at Brighton & Hove Al­bion tonight.

“Top four is our chal­lenge and tar­get. It is to fin­ish top four and pro­vide the club next sea­son with the Cham­pi­ons League in the new sta­dium, that is our tar­get,” Po­chet­tino said. “It is bet­ter to fin­ish third or fourth, but the chal­lenge is to be in the top four.”

Po­chet­tino said that Toby Alder­weireld could be brought out of the cold for the visit to the AMEX Sta­dium. The Bel­gian de­fender has not been in­volved in any of the last three match­day squads as his fu­ture at the club looks in­creas­ingly bleak, hav­ing not played in the Premier League since Oc­to­ber.

“Yes, Toby is go­ing to be in­volved in the squad and then to­mor­row I will de­cide if he is go­ing to play or not,” Po­chet­tino said.

Cap­tain Hugo Lloris will also keep his place de­spite goal-cost­ing er­rors in the past three games, in­clud­ing giv­ing a penalty away against City on Satur­day.

The France goal­keeper has re­ceived crit­i­cism for his re­cent form, but Po­chet­tino is stand­ing by his man.

“For me, Hugo Lloris is, from the day that we ar­rive here, im­prov­ing ev­ery sea­son,” he said.

“For me, to­day he is one of the best keep­ers in the world and for me there’s no doubt.

“But you know the per­cep­tion some­times, you need to re­spect the peo­ple’s per­cep­tion.

“I don’t know, be­cause I don’t read [it].

“But for me Hugo Lloris is do­ing fan­tas­tic, for me he is one of the best keep­ers in the world and for me there is no doubt about him.”

Danny Rose is still miss­ing with a calf in­jury and Harry Winks re­mains in Qatar as he re­cov­ers from an an­kle in­jury.

To fin­ish top four and pro­vide the club next sea­son with Cham­pi­ons League in the new sta­dium, that is our tar­get MAURI­CIO PO­CHET­TINO Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur man­ager

Getty

With play­ers such as Dele Alli, above, and Harry Kane, Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino is pos­i­tive on Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur’s fu­ture

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