Pochettino focuses on top-4 race

LONDON • Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has called on his team to put aside the midweek Champions League disappointment against Juventus and concentrate on today's Premier League game away at Bournemouth.

Spurs, who are fourth in the league, will boost their chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League if they beat Eddie Howe's side. Pochettino will certainly hope he gets another go at Europe's elite club competition following the 2-1 home defeat (4-3 on aggregate) by Juventus in the last 16.

But first, the Argentinian must make sure he gets the points needed in the Premier League.

"It was tough on Wednesday and the effort was massive, but we need to move on. The Champions League is in the past," he said at his Friday pre-match press conference. "We need to feel proud, because we competed with Dortmund, Real Madrid, Juventus. The last Champions League final was Juventus against Real Madrid, and we were able to compete with them. We need to feel proud.

"It's part of the process to be competitive. We showed ourselves we can compete at this level. Now we need to believe more and compete in the Premier League and FA Cup, two competitions in which we're alive."

On facing today's opponents, the Spurs manager added: "It's always tough to beat them.

"It's tough as they play good football and Eddie is doing a fantastic job. It will be tough. We need in our starting XI, to pick players who are capable to fight and feel fresh.

"That is now a tough job for us to choose the starting XI to play at Bournemouth."

However, the signs are looking good for Tottenham as Bournemouth have lost four of their five league meetings with Spurs, with the exception being a 0-0 draw in the same fixture at the Cherries' home ground at Dean Court last season.

Pochettino's men are also unbeaten in the last 11 league matches, winning the last three without conceding.

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BOURNEMOUTH V TOTTENHAM

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 11, 2018, with the headline 'Pochettino focuses on top-4 race'. Print Edition | Subscribe