Mauricio Pochettino accepts Chelsea will not be worried about Tottenham even if his side seal a crunch victory at Liverpool today.
Spurs face Jurgen Klopp’s men at Anfield later looking to reduce a nine-point gap behind Antonio Conte’s Premier League leaders, who travel to relegation strugglers Burnley tomorrow.
With 14 games left, the Blues’ advantage seems almost insurmountable, particularly given they are unbeaten in the six games since losing to Tottenham at the start of the year.
Liverpool’s recent slump would appear to offer Spurs the perfect opportunity to register their first victory at Anfield since 2011.
But Pochettino insists even success will not set any nerves jangling in west London.
“Chelsea aren’t worried about that,” Pochettino said.
“It is true that Conte wants to keep the motivation high and keep them pushing and fighting, but I think they are worried about themselves.”
Pochettino added: “It is not about sending a message to Chelsea. We are competing with ourselves, like we were last season.
“We are our own enemies and if we win, we win. It is important to be focused on ourselves.
“It is true in the last four or five games when you need to reduce the gap you are not only thinking of winning games, you are looking to reduce the gap to your opponent.
“But today it is about you. You need to be able to keep that level about winning, winning, winning games, then hope afterwards that Chelsea drop points.”
Anything less than a win will see Chelsea extend their lead into double figures with a victory at Turf Moor 24 hours later. Pochettino, however, maintains nothing will be decided this weekend.
“It’s not decisive,” the Argentinian said. “There are lots of games ahead, but it will be important.
“If we win it will be important to keep good a position and put pressure on Chelsea, it’s true. It’s not decisive but it’s important.”
If Chelsea prove uncatchable, Tottenham will want to secure Champions League qualification again, as well as winning the race for second – something they failed to do last year.
Victory over Liverpool will see Spurs move seven points clear of their out-of-sorts opponents, who have managed just one triumph in 10 matches.
“I’m thinking about the top of the table,” Pochettino said. “That is not the problem today, to be seven points (ahead of Liverpool).
“The important thing is to win as the objective is to reduce the gap to Chelsea and for that we need to be ready to fight. It will be a very, very, very difficult game.
“They’re not in a good run but Liverpool have very good players. For me it is one of best squads not only in England but in Europe.
“They will be motivated as Tottenham against Liverpool is always a big match.”
Liverpool’s dramatic dip in form has prompted questions about the players’ ability to sustain the intensity Klopp demands, and a lack of leadership in the squad.
Tottenham endured a similar malaise in October when injuries to key players disrupted the team’s rhythm, and Pochettino is backing the Reds also to bounce back.
“I cannot explain about another team that is not mine,” Pochettino said.
“I can only say we have same problem in November, when we play for the Champions League. After Manchester City (2-0 home win on October 2) I think it was seven, eight games without a victory.
“During the whole season always every club can have ups and downs. For us it was the same.
“They are a very good team, they have very good players and they will be motivated like us.
“We need to be ready to fight because it’s a different game when you play Liverpool against Tottenham. You need to be ready to fight.”
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