Things looking up for Pochettino

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Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino believes his side can challenge for a place in the Barclays Premier League top three having proved their credentials in recent weeks.

A 5-3 victory over leaders Chelsea on New Year’s Day showed Spurs can mix it with the big boys as they seek a return to Champions League football next season.

A tricky trip to face Crystal Palace under the stewardship of new manager Alan Pardew is next up for Pochettino on Saturday and – with a number of teams in and around fifth-placed Spurs dropping points over the festive period – the Argentinian feels he can guide the club up the table.

“We have to ask who is going to be third as well,” Pochettino replied when asked if he was aiming for fourth place in his first season at the club.

“Everything is possible in football if you believe. Why not? Southampton is a strong team, West Ham and us we need to try. It is only in our mind and we need to believe. When you believe all is possible.

“Now it is clear that Chelsea and Manchester City will be first and second. But after that, nothing is clear. I think, so far.

“We need to believe. If we believe and we show the way that we showed against Chelsea, all is possible. But step by step. This is important. There are still five months left of the competition.”

With fixtures piling up over the next five weeks, as Europa League football returns alongside a Capital One Cup semi-final appearance and an FA Cup replay on Wednesday, Pochettino will have to juggle his squad capably.

Palace drew 0-0 at Tottenham under Neil Warnock and, in Pardew, have a manager who has tasted victory over Spurs already this season whilst in charge at Newcastle.

Pochettino wants his side to replicate the kind of passion and desire that saw them record one of their biggest victories in recent seasons.

“We are working to keep the same motivation,” the former Southampton boss revealed.

“We need to play against Chelsea and against Crystal Palace in the same way. This is our idea, to play the same way as we did against Chelsea.

“Always when the players have a great win or the team have a good win, we know we need to try to keep the same mentality and say “come on, this is a good opportunity to move forward.

“It is not a matter of physical conditioning or doing different drills and systems. It is in our mind. It is important to keep the same feeling we had against Chelsea and being focused to compete again.”

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