Tottenham not ready to win titles: Pochettino

Tottenham defender Kieran Trippier is disappointed after wasting a goalscoring chance against Crystal Palace in their 2-0 FA Cup fourth-round loss on Sunday.
Tottenham defender Kieran Trippier is disappointed after wasting a goalscoring chance against Crystal Palace in their 2-0 FA Cup fourth-round loss on Sunday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino has defended his record at Tottenham, arguing that silverware would serve only to "build egos" rather than maintain progress after seeing his team exit a second domestic cup competition in four days.

A Spurs side, sporting seven changes from the League Cup semi-final loss to Chelsea, were knocked out of the FA Cup on Sunday after a 2-0 loss Crystal Palace.

This leaves Pochettino's men with only two fronts to focus on - next month's Champions League last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund and, realistically, a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Pochettino, who has yet to claim a trophy in his managerial career, admitted disappointment at the meek defeat but suggested trophies would not maintain Spurs' development as a club.

The Argentinian said: "We are going to create a debate that to win a trophy is going to help the club.

"I don't agree with that. In reality, the most important thing is being consistently in the top four and playing in the Champions League.

"That is going to help the club to achieve the last step. The club is doing fantastically well. It's so successful. In the last four or five years, we've been fighting in different ways to achieve what the club needs, to be in the level of Chelsea, (Manchester) United, (Manchester) City, Arsenal or Liverpool.

"People wish we could win some trophies. But we are a team not built to win titles still."

Wounded by fatigue and injuries to key players, Spurs should at least have Son Heung-min, back early after South Korea's surprise elimination from the Asian Cup, available for tomorrow's league game against Watford at Wembley.

Pochettino said: "To be a contender is always difficult for us.

"Now, the realistic targets are trying to be in the top four, to try and be close to City and Liverpool and reduce the gap.

"Another is to try to beat Dortmund and be in the next round.

"That will be tough. We are competing against a team who are doing fantastic in Germany, who are top of the table and have come back off their (winter break) holidays."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2019, with the headline 'Tottenham not ready to win titles: Pochettino'. Print Edition | Subscribe