Pochettino urges Spurs to learn from last season

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is not waving the white flag as he tries to ensure that his team do not falter as they did last season.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is not waving the white flag as he tries to ensure that his team do not falter as they did last season.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino believes his Tottenham Hotspur side switched off mentally in their Premier League title run-in last season but will seek to give a better account of themselves this term.

Second-placed Spurs travel to face Swansea City today, hoping to close the seven-point gap between themselves and leaders Chelsea with the help of the Blues' opponents - Manchester City.

Spurs are bidding to be crowned champions of England for the first time since 1961 - just as they were last season, when they faltered at the business end, claiming just two points from their final four games.

Pochettino does not want to see his side collapse again.

"We've talked a lot about last season and in football, it's important to learn from good and bad experiences," said the Spurs manager.

"For me, it's easy to explain, it's about mentality, it's about never giving up, it's about being concentrated until the end.

"Last season wasn't a problem with physical condition, it was about us switching off in our minds after Chelsea and we conceded the second place to Arsenal. That's what happened.

"We need to learn and to fight until the end. Football is about mentality and the energy in your mind, not only in your body."

Spurs have enjoyed the second half of the season so far with more points (26) on board this year than any other Premier League team.

They have won five successive games and Pochettino knows it would take a dramatic shift in fortunes to deny Chelsea the title but is certainly not giving up.

"Belief, faith and fight. Nothing is impossible in football and that is our idea, our philosophy," said the Argentinian.

"It's still a big gap, seven is a massive difference. Chelsea, 21/2 years ago, they won the Premier League and 80 per cent of the players have experience of how to manage the pressure."

He was dealt a blow ahead of the Swansea clash when young midfielder Harry Winks was ruled out for the season with an ankle injury.

In contrast, Paul Clement hopes to welcome back leading scorer Fernando Llorente, who missed the goalless draw against Middlesbrough last weekend with an ankle injury.

Swansea, having enjoyed an initial boost following the appointment of Clement as manager, are in need of a fresh lift after three games without a win.

The Welsh side's failure to beat second-bottom Boro at home left them one point above the bottom three. But Swansea centre-back Alfie Mawson insisted the squad's self-belief is intact.

"Confidence is still very high going into Wednesday's game," he said. "The squad is fit and ready for the challenge. The belief is fully there that we will stay up."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2017, with the headline 'Pochettino urges Spurs to learn from last season'. Print Edition | Subscribe