Potential of Spurs' young squad is massive: Pochettino

Tottenham's Dele Alli walks off after being substituted against West Brom on April 25 as manager Mauricio Pochettino looks on. The midfielder faces a three-game ban and will not feature in the clash against Chelsea.
Tottenham's Dele Alli walks off after being substituted against West Brom on April 25 as manager Mauricio Pochettino looks on. The midfielder faces a three-game ban and will not feature in the clash against Chelsea. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino knows that he can do very little as the Premier League title is Leicester City's to lose.

But he can take immense heart from the way that his young side have carried the fight to Leicester during a season that has seen the traditional heavyweights fall by the wayside.

Second-placed Tottenham, who play Chelsea today, are guaranteed a top-four finish, and with it a place in next season's Champions League.

The Argentinian emphasised his faith in the Tottenham project on Friday by revealing that he is set to sign a new five-year contract and, with the club also due to move into a new 61,000-seat stadium in 2018, he is confident that there is a bright future in store for his team.

"We can feel a little bit disappointed because the gap behind Leicester is big, but realistically we have a very good, young squad," said Pochettino.

"If it is not possible to win the title this season, we need to try the next season. The potential of the club and the squad we have is massive."

The stalemate with West Brom on April 25 was doubly costly for Spurs as it resulted in Dele Alli receiving a retrospective three-game ban for punching Claudio Yacob.

Alli's fellow England midfielder Eric Dier was concussed after taking a blow to the head during the game and is due to undergo a pre-match fitness test to determine his availability.

Spurs have not won at Chelsea since February 1990 and can expect a hostile reception due to the long-standing animosity between the two clubs' sets of fans.

Chelsea midfielders Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas upped the ante recently by publicly stating that they do not want to see Spurs win the league.

But Pochettino is sure his team will go all out for the three points.

"The derby is a big motivation for everyone," he told Spurs TV.

"There's a lot of speech from them about the team they want to win the league and this is another motivation for us. It's true that we expect a tough game but we are ready to fight."

"Chelsea this season were not consistent like the season before. They're in a position in the middle of the table, but always they are a very good team and can play well in a game. But our objective is to go and try to get the three points.

Chelsea still have a slender chance to secure European football next season, but they will need to improve on a record that has seen them win just one of their last eight home fixtures.

Captain John Terry is expected to be available for Chelsea after an Achilles injury, but may not start, while fellow centre-back Gary Cahill has recovered from a bout of illness.

Thibaut Courtois completes a two-match suspension, while Loic Remy (groin) and Kurt Zouma (knee) remain sidelined.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2016, with the headline 'Potential of Spurs' young squad is massive: Pochettino'. Print Edition | Subscribe