Pochettino turns focus to reviving title charge

Tottenham's Eric Dier will be eager to help his side return to winning ways in the Premier League against Stoke. Spurs have dropped out of the top four, having not won in four.
Tottenham's Eric Dier will be eager to help his side return to winning ways in the Premier League against Stoke. Spurs have dropped out of the top four, having not won in four.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino will hope Tottenham Hotspur's success in topping their Champions League group will fire up a faltering Premier League campaign.

The 3-0 win over Apoel Nicosia on Wednesday ensured his side ended the group stage three points clear of Real Madrid.

By contrast, their efforts to improve on their domestic title challenges of the last two seasons have stalled badly and Spurs face Stoke City today searching for their first win in five Premier League games.

But, unlike Arsene Wenger, whose Arsenal side have three more points than Spurs, Pochettino is refusing to give up on the title.

"Today the gap is massive but, in football if you always believe, you can achieve what you want," said the Spurs manager.

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"Everything is possible."

With the Champions League resuming only in February, when the last-16 clashes take place, the Argentinian expects Spurs to climb the Premier League table.

They head into the weekend round of fixtures in sixth place, 18 points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

"In general, I am positive. I think we need to improve in different areas but I think we are focused now only on the Premier League," Pochettino told a press conference yesterday.

"Now for us it is time to win games and so important to be focused on the Premier League until the FA Cup (next month)."

Stoke are seeking back-to-back league wins for the first time since January but are mindful of their poor record at Tottenham.

They have won just once in their last seven visits - albeit at White Hart Lane - and the last three meetings between the two sides ended in 4-0 routs.

"It was always the most difficult game we felt going up against Tottenham.

"If you take away City, who have gone up two or three levels this year, if you look at all the other top teams, for the most part, we've have always done okay against them," said Hughes.

"We are aware of our past record against (Tottenham), so it's about time it changed."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2017, with the headline 'Pochettino turns focus to reviving title charge'. Print Edition | Subscribe