Pochettino targets Chelsea scalp

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Mauricio Pochettino has told Tottenham to forget about their terrible record at Chelsea as they look to become the first team to defeat the Barclays Premier League leaders this season.

Spurs have not won at Stamford Bridge since a late goal from Gary Lineker secured a 2-1 victory in February 1990.

Pochettino, though, wants his players to instead focus on making history of their own in 2014.

“I don’t read about Tottenham’s record at Chelsea. For us it is important to go and feel the same mentality which we showed against Everton and forget the past. We do not need to let the past affect our present,” the Argentine coach said.

“We know that Chelsea are a very strong squad of the Premier League, they are an unbelievable team. We know that tomorrow we should expect a very tough game.”

Pochettino added: “Our players can look forward to go to Stamford Bridge to try to get the three points.

“We know it is a difficult stadium because in the last 14 games, they have made 11 clean sheets.

“They are not an easy team, but we go to (a stadium) where it is exciting to play, to show our skill and try to take the three points.

“I believe always in each game I go to play, I have full confidence we can win.

“We know that belief is important, that is the first thing to get the positive result and I always have confidence in my players.”

Chelsea will be without leading marksman Diego Costa through suspension.

Pochettino, though, stressed the Blues were anything but a one-dimensional side.

“Costa is a very good player, I know him from Spain, but Chelsea have a strong team and a strong squad, if Costa does not play, maybe they play Drogba or Remy,” the former Espanyol boss said.

“Maybe it is a different player with different characteristics, but they are a top player too.”

Chelsea drew 0-0 at Sunderland on Saturday, after which Manchester City recorded an impressive 3-0 away win at Southampton to cut the deficit back down to six points.

Pochettino expects both clubs to battle it out for the championship.

He said: “For me, so far Chelsea are the best team, and they have shown why because the mentality and quality is top.

“Chelsea can with another team be on the top at the end of the Premier League (season).”

Spurs have improved in recent weeks, with just one defeat in their last seven matches in all competitions.

Indeed, should results go their way elsewhere in midweek, then Pochettino’s side could move into the top four.

“We don’t look at the table yet – for now, it is important just to play the same way as we did against Everton and show our fans this is the way we want to play,” the Spurs boss said.

“We have scored in the last 14 games and we are more confident in our skill today than we were yesterday, but we also know we are facing a strong defensive team.

“We will need to believe in the way we play, believe we can score and believe we can take the three points.”

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