We ended our miserable run of form in the Premier League in emphatic fashion on Saturday afternoon and according to The Daily Star Mauricio Pochettino admitted he is hoping for more of the same over the festive period, now that the club have a short break away from European competition.
The article says that for the first time Pochettino admitted that his team may have grown “distracted” by their European campaign, and that it may have been somewhat responsible for their struggles back home.
The article adds that while we unexpectedly topped our Champions League group ahead of champions Real Madrid, we have been poor in the league and had picked up just two points in our previous four fixtures prior to hammering Stoke 5-1.
It adds that after the Wembley draw with West Brom, Pochettino conceded that there was now little chance of his side winning the Premier League title, instead saying that our sole priority was to finish in the top-four. And now after the emphatic Stoke win, the article says he said he expected his team to rise up the table prior to their Champions League Round of 16 fixture, in mid-February.
“Yes, we spent a lot of energy in the Champions League and it was so tough to mix between that competition and the Premier League,” he after Saturday’s win, which saw us close the gap on the top-four to just two points.
Pochettino continued: “Last season when we were out of the Champions League we were able to focus on the Premier League, but this season the team wanted to show that we were strong in Europe, too. Maybe we were distracted about that.
“And for now we have only the Premier League and we need to be focused and try to win games, because we want to be in the top-four. If something happens with the other teams and they drop position we need to be there, we need to keep winning games.”
The draw for the next stage of the Champions League takes place on Monday, with Spurs guaranteed a slightly kinder Round of 16 opponent as a result of beating Madrid to the top of Group H.
We were handed a tricky tie against Juventus in this mornings Champions League last 16 draw and the article adds (Prior to the the draw) that Pochettino has insisted he would relish the chance of playing one of Europe’s biggest teams for a place in the quarter-finals.
“Motivation is massive for these games and you could see that against Real Madrid,” Pochettino added. “I prefer to play against a team that will motivate everyone rather than a team everybody says you should beat easily. That is when it gets complicated.
He added: “We would love to play against a big team and we always give that little bit extra that you need. After 10-minutes here today, people think you should already be winning 3-0. People don’t have the patience to build the result. Sometimes when we keep possession people aren’t always comfortable. So that is why you sometimes want to play a bigger team as the people are scared a little bit and they instead support and help the team – which provides us with the better energy.”
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