Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham are finally beginning to believe in his high-tempo style of play.
Spurs put on their best performance of the season in a 2-1 win over Everton last weekend and despite a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday, there were further signs of progress for Pochettino’s side.
The Argentinian manager has found it harder at White Hart Lane to instil the aggressive, pressing methods that earned so many plaudits at Southampton.
Tottenham, however, have won three out of four games since the international break in November and Pochettino believes the extra time on the training pitch is starting to pay dividends.
“We try to set that standard on the team,” Pochettino said.
“It is not easy, it is a process, we need to train at high tempo to run like that on the pitch.
“It is a slow process – not just a transformation in your body but also in your mind.
“This is why need time to improve and we need time to set a style.
“We have put together a lot of concepts, introduced a lot of new things and when you play, play, play, maybe you need a clear week to improve your style.
“Sometimes it is good to play three games in a week but it makes it difficult to coach the team.
“So we need more time to put our style in practice.”
Tottenham dominated the opening spell at Stamford Bridge and could have taken the lead but Harry Kane’s header struck the crossbar.
Chelsea made Spurs pay, scoring twice in quick succession in the first half, but Pochettino believes his players’ response showed resilience and maturity.
“If you are a winner and you are ambitious you always want to win, but I was happy because we showed in the game that we wanted to manage the situation and keep possession,” Pochettino said.
“The opposition were quite nervous because we had chances to score.
“We had nearly 70 per cent possession in the second half and that was because we believed.
“Maybe we were not clinical enough in front of goal but we created the same chances as they did.”
Pochettino added: “We are a different team to Chelsea. Chelsea are the final product whereas we are building our product.
“We need to give confidence to our players. They were very positive after the game, sad and disappointed, but positive that this is our way to get success in the future.”
Tottenham are currently five points off the top four and they will be hoping to close that gap with a win at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Spurs have struggled against supposedly weaker opponents this season and Pochettino is wary of the Eagles’ pace on the counter-attack.
“They have very good players who run fast like (Yannick) Bolasie and (Marouane) Chamakh,” Pochettino said.
“It’s true we need to be careful, to look after the ball and be clinical in the final third.
“If we try to build from the back and lose the ball in the middle they can recover and go forward and we could have a problem.
“So we need to be clever how we manage the ball.”
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