LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino believes patience must be the watchword in Tottenham Hotspur's quest to win a trophy - since they might not yet be ready for it.
The manager watched his team go out of the Europa League on Thursday night against Belgian side Gent. And the Argentinian acknowledged the club's honours drought was something of a millstone.
Tottenham have won three trophies in the past 33 years - one FA Cup and two League Cups - but none since 2008.
But Pochettino, who has overseen significant improvements since taking charge in May 2014, is confident they are on the right path.
The club are still in the FA Cup, with a quarter-final against third-tier Millwall taking place next month.
Pochettino used the ongoing construction of the club's new stadium - which, it is hoped, will be ready for the start of the 2018-19 season - as a metaphor for the work that he is doing at the club.
"We have pushed the expectations higher because last season we were there - second, third in the league - and that is good," he said before yesterday's Premier League clash against Stoke at White Hart Lane, where a win would have seen his men leapfrog Manchester City into second.
"But my question is maybe we are not ready (in terms of trophies). It's like the stadium: if we want to move today, we are not ready to play there.
"We need to wait, to build the foundations. It's always a problem, to be patient, to arrive.
"The important thing is the club. Our chairman (Daniel Levy) has built the foundation - new facilities on the training ground, a new stadium to help to be a better team and a bigger club. We are on the way to building one of the best clubs in Europe. But we must be patient."
The Spurs manager wants to add quality in the summer in order to maintain the sense of momentum, although he stressed the need to be "clever".
While the new stadium is being built, Tottenham do not have the same resources as the other clubs in the Premier League's top six.
"Football is about quality and being clever," he said. "It's always about improving. We must add quality to the team if we want to fight for big things.
"And we will try. It's our job to find the right profile and player that can play for us."