Europe progress spurs hope for league title: Pochettino

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham should seek inspiration from an unlikely run to the last 16 of the Champions League to pose a Premier League title challenge.

Despite the midweek exertions of drawing 1-1 away to Barcelona to progress in Europe, Spurs closed to within five points of champions Manchester City domestically, thanks to Christian Eriksen's stoppage-time winner to earn a 1-0 home victory over Burnley on Saturday.

The win kept Tottenham in third place and just three points adrift of second-placed Liverpool, who can return to the top of the table with victory over Manchester United yesterday (early this morning, Singapore time).

Pochettino knows that many believe the title is a two-horse race between City and Liverpool.

But he argued otherwise, citing his side's recovery from taking just one point from their first three Champions League group games as encouragement that anything can happen.

"We are in a very good position," said the Argentinian, who has also had to contend with persistent delays over a move to the club's new stadium, no summer signings in the transfer market and a host of injuries to members of his squad who shone at the World Cup.

"The reality is that after 17 games, we are third. That is a massive achievement for us.

"All is possible. Look what happened in the Champions League after three games. We had only one point and we believed it was possible and, in the end, we are now in the next stage.

"There are a lot of things you need to take into consideration, but the most important thing is belief and faith in the way you work and, if you give 100 per cent, all can happen."

Victory was also Pochettino's 100th in the Premier League from 168 games as Tottenham manager.

It was the sort of history that Spurs fans revel in as he beat former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to the century by 10 fewer games.

The two North London sides will meet on Wednesday in the League Cup quarter-finals, and Pochettino will need no reminding that to be really considered on a par with Wenger, he needs to win a trophy after four barren years.

The League Cup might be a good place to start.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2018, with the headline 'Europe progress spurs hope for league title: Pochettino'. Print Edition | Subscribe