Po­chet­tino’s men ‘de­serve stat­ues’ if they win league

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE - By Ja­son Burt

Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino de­clared that ev­ery Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur player will de­serve to have a “statue” built of them if they over­haul Le­ices­ter City to win the league for the first time in 55 years.

Spurs go into tonight’s Premier League match away to Stoke City with Le­ices­ter hav­ing ex­tended their lead at the top to eight points fol­low­ing their 2-2 draw against West Ham. Drop­ping two points, how­ever, gives Spurs hope that they can still catch Clau­dio Ranieri’s side even if the games are run­ning out. If Spurs beat Stoke then Le­ices­ter’s lead is re­duced to five points with four matches to play.

“If we won the cham­pi­onship, I think that ev­ery player would de­serve a statue,” Po­chet­tino said. “The chal­lenge is big be­cause it is a big gap. But to keep fight­ing in the way that we have fought and in the end win the ti­tle, all the peo­ple would recog­nise our value. And we would be happy, too.”

The Spurs man­ager ac­knowl- edged that an added pres­sure for his team was that most neu­tral fans were root­ing for Le­ices­ter to win the ti­tle for the first time in the club’s his­tory.

“They de­serve to [win],” Po­chet­tino said. “But I think we can­not fight against all that hap­pens around Le­ices­ter. We need to fight against them. We know that all the peo­ple want Le­ices­ter to be cham­pi­ons but we need to be­lieve that we can change the story.”

West Ham’s draw will be used as an ex­am­ple that it is still pos­si­ble. “In foot­ball, any­thing can hap­pen,” Po­chet­tino said be­fore yes­ter­day’s game. “One thing can change things. We are in love with foot­ball be­cause it is not pre­dictable, and now we need to be­lieve that some­thing can hap­pen for us on Sun­day and then we need to do our job.”

Po­chet­tino has yet to beat Stoke, ei­ther with Southamp­ton or Spurs. “But like Manch­ester United,” he said. “We hadn’t beaten them at home for 15 years and we did it on Sun­day. Maybe I change the his­tory against Stoke.”

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