Steak may be the impetus Spurs need to claim bragging rights

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino says revenge is not on the minds of Tottenham Hotspur's players as his team prepare for a feisty London derby at West Ham United today.

Spurs' hopes of winning last season's Premier League title were all but ended when they went down 1-0 at the London Stadium in May.

But, despite an early defeat by Chelsea at their temporary Wembley home, Spurs are fifth in the table and Pochettino says they have moved on from last season.

"We were very frustrated and disappointed," the Spurs manager said. "It wasn't our best performance, but now is a different circumstance. We are so excited to play and try to win three points."

In a bid to fuel his players' appetite for success, Pochettino took them, the backroom staff and the club's chairman Daniel Levy - a total of 49 people - for a steak dinner at the expensive Beast restaurant on London's Oxford Street this week.

"You need time to create a good dynamic, not only tactics but outside too," he said. "That (the dinner) creates links between them, emotion. And when you must fight in a competition, there's more of a willingness to help your team-mates and care more for the gaffer that pays the restaurant bill."

CAPITAL RIVALRY

You know very well derbies are special games. It means more than only three points when you play Arsenal, West Ham and Chelsea.

MAURICIO POCHETTINO , Spurs manager, admits London derbies have added spice.

Tottenham will have left-back Ben Davies available again for selection after an ankle injury and have reported no fresh injury concerns.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said Spurs have no peers when it comes to playing style.

"For me, they are the team that plays the most attractive football and are definitely one of the contenders to win the league," he said. "They have individual quality, they have pace and they are the team building up for three years now."

But Bilic has not forgotten previous derby successes. "It gives you good memories to repeat what you have done," he said.

The Hammers will be without injured duo Manuel Lanzini and Pedro Obiang, who are not expected to feature for their club until after next month's international break.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WEST HAM V TOTTENHAM

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2017, with the headline 'Steak may be the impetus Spurs need to claim bragging rights'. Print Edition | Subscribe