Pochettino focused on a Man United pick-me-up

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino is hugely disappointed that his Tottenham side let slip an opportunity to give Chelsea a closer fight for the Premier League title when they shockingly lost 1-0 at West Ham United last week.

If Chelsea beat West Bromwich Albion this morning (Singapore time), they will pocket the trophy.

"We have three games to play, we still feel disappointed from last week and it is difficult to take off this feeling," Pochettino said yesterday at his press conference.

"We missed a good opportunity to put pressure on Chelsea and to fight nearly to the end.

"Before the game we thought anything was possible, but afterwards it was a big disappointment and it was difficult to lift everyone."

The Argentinian admitted that it has been a difficult period for his squad since.

"The season so far has been good, but when you don't win (the title) you feel disappointed as that is our ambition," he said. "It was difficult from Monday to Wednesday at training and it was difficult to be happy but then we have only been focused on (playing) Manchester United (tomorrow).

"We are looking forward to playing and the last game at White Hart Lane, so there are many reasons to be focused. Maybe it's a moment now to be focused on finishing the season in the best way."

United manager Jose Mourinho has said that his team's focus will be on winning the Europa League final and entering next season's Champions League via that route rather than attempting to finish fourth in the league.

The Old Trafford outfit lie sixth with three matches remaining.

Pochettino, though, reckons United will take tomorrow's match against his side seriously.

"Yes, they will take it as seriously as us, of course," he said. "When you play in the Premier League you take it seriously.

"It will be tough for us and for them. It is a game that we want to win and for sure they will want to win. You play with pride.

"I don't think there's any reason to think it will be easy because Manchester United are focusing on winning the Europa League."

Whatever the outcome, Pochettino is sure the atmosphere will be special.

"It will be special, first of all for the fans, the staff, the players, everyone who loves Tottenham," he said. "The most important thing is the soul and the smell (of White Hart Lane) we'll keep there. With the new era and the new stadium come different expectations, but it's most important that in our memory will be White Hart Lane.

"It will be sad on Sunday but it will be exciting too to welcome the new era of Tottenham."

Spurs will play next season's home games at Wembley while their new stadium is completed.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2017, with the headline 'Pochettino focused on a Man United pick-me-up'. Subscribe