Pochettino talks up Spurs challenge

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino claims his side face a huge challenge to try and replicate their Champions League standards in the Premier League.

Spurs thrashed Borussia Dortmund on their way to the Champions League quarter-finals but Saturday saw them suffer a 2-1 defeat at the hands of struggling Southampton in the Premier League.

Tottenham looked like they were going to wrap up the three points when Harry Kane struck with his 17th Premier League goal of the season.

However, Yan Valery and James Ward-Prowse both struck in the second half to helps Saints secure a valuable win in their bid to avoid the drop.

After the disappointment of the defeat on the south coast at his former club, Pochettino has admitted consistency has been an issue for his side.

"It is so difficult to understand why we changed so much from the first half to the second," he said.

"The second half, we did not take it seriously, I don't want to criticise too much but when you lose a game that was under control after 45 minutes – we should be 3-0, 4-0 – and finishes in 2-1 defeat, it is difficult to accept.

"Their first goal was a cross in front of the goal where four players can put the ball out of the stadium.

"This is our reality. People talk about perceptions but we need to realise if you do not fight with intensity for the Champions League, you will struggle. We are fighting against big sides. We had a big gap, welcome to the reality, we are under pressure to win games. It is a massive challenge for us."

Tottenham are 4/6 to finish in the top four this season and 12/1 to win the Champions League.

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Poch: We need to show more

Mauricio Pochettino accepts that Tottenham will have to "move to the next level" if they are to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Spurs produced a solid display on Tuesday to win 1-0 at the Westfalenstadion and seal a 4-0 aggregate success against Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16.

Harry Kane scored the only goal of the second leg four minutes into the second half to effectively end the tie as a contest after Dortmund had created numerous chances before the break with Hugo Lloris keeping out efforts by Marco Reus, Mario Goetze and Julian Weigl.

"For me, to move to the next level or the last level, I think it is not only today to show a very professional performance," Pochettino said after the match.

"It is so important to be in the quarter-final, but you need to show more if you want to be at the next level.

"To build that possibility to be at the same level as the clubs that we are talking about, you need to start from the first step always. We are in the middle or 70 per cent of moving forward."

Spurs, who were knocked out of last season's Champions League by Juventus at the same stage, had only taken one point from their last three Premier League fixtures. They are 4/11 to finish in the top four this season. Meanwhile, they can be backed at 14/1 to win the Champions League.

"We fully deserved this. We scored four goals, did not concede and this was against a team that is top of the Bundesliga with great players," added Pochettino.

"Job done. I am happy for our players, for the fans. We suffered a bit in the first half but it is very important to be in the quarter-final."

Spurs are 4/5 to beat Southampton at St Mary's in the Premier League on Saturday.

Poch plays down Spurs lead

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino has warned his side to forget about the three-goal advantage they hold over Champions League opponents Borussia Dortmund.

Spurs powered to a 3-0 victory in the first leg of the last-16 tie with the current Bundesliga leaders at Wembley, but Pochettino says that that will count for little when they run out for the second leg in Germany on Tuesday evening.

He told reporters: "We need to play like we always play – trying to win the game. It's so important to be aggressive, to start the game in a very good level, with a high tempo.

"They will start aggressively and we need to show the same aggression.

"We cannot think about the 3-0 advantage, it's not important now. We can't think it's going to be easy. If we think that, it's going to be a massive problem."

As well as having defeated BVB last month, Spurs also have the boost of knowing that the two meetings of the two teams at the group stage of the competition last season both finished in their favour.

The clash in Dortmund ended 2-1 to the visitors, with Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min scoring second-half goals for the Londoners.

Spurs can be backed at 14/5 to secure a draw on Tuesday evening, with a 2-2 final scoreline available at 10/1, while Kane is priced at 21/20 to score at any time in the game.

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Spurs spirit pleases Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino felt his Tottenham side had showed good fighting qualities in the 1-1 derby draw with Arsenal, as they avoided a third consecutive Premier League loss.

Back-to-back defeats at Burnley and Chelsea had ended any lingering thoughts of a shock Premier League title success, but Spurs still have plenty to play, especially as they are still involved in the Champions League.

And head coach Pochettino, who saw Hugo Lloris save a late penalty to ensure a draw against the Gunners, was content with what he watched at Wembley on Saturday.

The Argentinian commented: "We showed great character. Our performance was not great, but it was really good to draw. After two defeats it was important to start to build our positive run.

"We deserved a victory, but the circumstances at the end make this point even more important to build our confidence to be sure to arrive in a good condition against Borussia Dortmund.

"Not only the performance, the point always helps us to keep our belief and build our confidence for the future."

Spurs are back in action on Tuesday, when they head to Germany for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Borussia Dortmund, holding a major 3-0 advantage from the first leg.

Tottenham are 13/5 to gain a draw in Dortmund, with the hosts 15/2 to win the game by a 2-1 scoreline, while the Londoners are available at 16/1 to win the Champions League this season.

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Poch looks at the positives

Mauricio Pochettino insists he is not feeling the pressure even after his Tottenham side slumped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.

The setback comes on the back of Saturday's 2-1 loss at Burnley and leaves Spurs looking over their shoulders at the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Maurizio Sarri's team as the race for a top-four finish hots up.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are just five points behind Spurs who face Arsenal, who are fourth and only four points behind, in a crunch north London derby at Wembley this weekend.

Spurs are 1/3 to finish in the top four and 1/1 to beat the Gunners, who are 9/2 to win the Europa League this season.

"I am not afraid. I have freedom in my mind, I have the same feeling I had before," Pochettino said.

"If people are scared now about the top four, that is football. It's a massive business for sure but we need to enjoy it, playing football.

"Everyone from the beginning of the season would have signed up to be in this position before playing on Saturday.

"Everyone would have signed for that eight or 10 months ago in June or July, to be, today, with the possibility of playing against Arsenal at Wembley with the gap at four points. The pressure is on them, not only us. Them too, surely."

Poch calling for Spurs response

Mauricio Pochettino has called for a big reaction from his Tottenham Hotspur players when they face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.

The Spurs head coach is eager to move on from a damaging 2-1 defeat at Burnley on Saturday which put a severe dent in the prospects of his team winning the Premier League title this season.

And the Lilywhites face a major test of their mettle on Wednesday, with the Blues having given a strong display in losing out on penalties to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.

Pochettino told reporters: "I need to see a reaction from my players tomorrow. I still feel pain because of the defeat against Burnley.

"It is impossible to put out that feeling unless we show tomorrow it was an accident and we beat Chelsea.

"It is going to be tough because Chelsea is a great team with a lot of great players. It is tough to play at Stamford Bridge but we must try (to win)."

Meanwhile, Pochettino also confirmed that midfielder Dele Alli is not quite ready to return as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury, adding: We need to assess and we’re doing so day by day.

"We can't say if he will be available for Borussia Dortmund or Southampton. Not available for tomorrow, after that we'll see."

The London rivals met at Stamford Bridge just over a month ago, in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final tie, with the hosts winning 2-1 before claiming overall victory via a penalty shootout.

A 2-1 Chelsea win on Wednesday is priced at 9/1, while a 1-1 draw is available at 6/1, with Harry Kane 21/20 to score at any time in the game.

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Premier League: Capital Clash May Not Provide Rebellion Remedy

Chelsea vs Tottenham

Two clubs from the capital in need of a pick-me-up.

One dramatically beaten in the lottery of a penalty shoot-out to miss out on the first major silverware of the season; the other reeling from a late blow which could have finally killed off their title hopes – albeit very outside ones anyway.

Revenge may also be in the air as Chelsea and Spurs prepare for this Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge, their third meeting in less two months.

We are about to find out if familiarity really does breed contempt.

Talking Points

Let’s be honest: it’s all been about the shoot-out mutiny in the build-up to this.

Unless it was all about a ‘misunderstanding’ as Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri suggested after the match, the behaviour of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in their League Cup Final defeat on Sunday was nothing short of disgraceful.

Suffering from a cramp with spot kicks looming, the young Spanish goalkeeper’s refusal to be substituted – insisting he was fit enough to continue – was as astonishing as it was unacceptable.

While he should be disciplined, it says much for the modern game that he may not. And while he will still be at the club next season, Sarri will certainly be not.

This episode was indicative of ‘player power’ and was complete public insurrection, showing scant regard for the club and no respect whatsoever for his manager.

The rebellion will still be uppermost in the minds of home players and fans alike when this important league clash begins which is unfortunate, particularly for Sarri whom, until that point, had held the upper hand tactically in the Wembley showpiece.

The struggling Chelsea squad will host Tottenham for a Premier League midweek clash

Chelsea’s goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga jumps while aiming to save a shot attempt

The mood will be interesting if and when Kepa’s name is read out over the tannoy at the start of the contest.

Of course, Spurs had disciplinary problems of their own over the weekend.

The threat of a touchline ban hangs over boss Mauricio Pochettino who was charged for his conduct following their 2-1 league defeat to Burnley.

Spurs were angered by some of the decisions of the controversial Dean, who has been stood down as the fourth official from this fixture.

Pochettino acknowledged afterwards that he was really more frustrated by his side’s inability to build on their equaliser at Turf Moor as they chased a win which would have moved them nearer the summit.

He did have the consolation, however, of seeing Harry Kane return with a goal after six weeks on the sidelines – a big lift for the club which has been badly affected by injuries since the turn of the year.

So the opportunity to make amends quickly for a below-par display now awaits Spurs who also host Arsenal in the North London derby before the week is over.

In truth, both sides need a lift, and this may be fruity with tensions already simmering in the respective camps.

After all, these meetings have already produced some Premier League 2019 highlights, not always for the right reasons.

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Many us fans will know there is much history between these two rivals.

After holding a hoodoo over Spurs for so long, Chelsea have struggled in recent years against their London rivals.

Spurs have won four of their last seven meetings including Sarri’s first defeat in the Premier League, a 3-1 Wembley success in November.

They also won 3-1 at Stamford Bridge last season – their first success in 31 visits to Stamford Bridge in all competitions since February 1990.

Overall, Chelsea have triumphed in 69 of their meetings with Spurs enjoying victory 54 times and 40 matches ending all square.

Of course, Chelsea won in a penalty shoot-out in last month’s League Cup semi-final after the two-legged tie had finished 2-2 on aggregate.

Betting Tip

Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur Asian Handicap Spurs draw no bet @ 2.36
February 28 04:00 (GMT+8)

Premier League 2019 betting odds edge towards the home side, as they so often do at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are priced 1X2 @ 2.29 and Spurs @ 3.10 with the draw @ 3.25.

It’s similar with Asian Handicap betting with Chelsea available to back at -0.50 @ 2.29 and Spurs +0.25 @ 1.95.

If you fancy goals, you can get odds @ 2.11 of over 2.75 goals, total goal 2-3 @ 1.91 and total goal 4-6 @ 3.25.

A repeat of Chelsea’s 2-1 victory in the League Cup last month (they won the tie on penalties after 180 minutes) is priced @ 8.00 with correct score betting, whereas a repeat of Spurs’ 3-1 November triumph – the same scoreline they won in this corresponding fixture last season – is @ 30.00.

With Spurs still missing key personnel, my tip may surprise you.

?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.




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Spurs lose ground in title race

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino conceded that winning the title would be "difficult" after his side lost 2-1 at Burnley.

Harry Kane marked his comeback from injury with a goal but that was sandwiched between two for the home side at Turf Moor, Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes on target for Sean Dyche's side who move further clear of the relegation zone with this victory.

Wood headed the Clarets in front early in the second half, Kane, in his first appearance since 13th January, got Spurs back on level terms, but Burnley regained the lead late on through a Barnes tap-in to secure the three points.

The win moves Burnley up into mid-table, six points clear of the relegation zone. They haven't lost in the league this year going eight games unbeaten after a poor start to the campaign.

Meanwhile Spurs, at the other end of the table, would have moved to within two points of Manchester City and Liverpool with victory at Turf Moor.

As it is they remain five off the pace having played a game more than Liverpool who will regain top spot in the Premier League if they avoid defeat at Manchester United on Sunday.

Pochettino said after the Burnley defeat that mistakes had cost his side. He told Sky Sports: "We made a few mistakes and conceded two goals. There is nothing to say. Congratulations to Burnley. We don't deserve the defeat but that's football.

"I think it's important to understand that it was a game that is important for us. I believe before the game that if you want to be a contender you need three points."

Spurs are back in action in the Premier League on Wednesday night when they travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in a London derby.

They are 11/5 for the win with Maurizio Sarri's side 5/4 and the draw 9/4.

As well as the league Spurs are also still involved in the Champions League, having a 3-0 advantage over Borussia Dortmund after the first-leg of their round of 16 clash.

Spurs are 16/1 to win the Champions League this season with Real Madrid 9/1.

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Kane close to return

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino says that Harry Kane is back in full training and could be involved against Burnley at the weekend.

The England striker has missed his team's last seven matches with ankle ligament damage. However, he has recovered quicker than expected and could even feature at Turf Moor on Saturday.

At a press conference Pochettino said that Kane would be assessed closely over the next couple of days before a decision is made.

He told reporters: "He [Kane] is very good. I think we need to assess him in tomorrow's training session and then decide.

"But I think he's doing well, I'm happy with him and maybe he's going to be available to be part of the squad for Saturday."

Pochettino was also hopeful that Dele Alli would soon be involved with the first team though he couldn't say when Kane's England team-mate would be back.

The Argentine added: "His progression is good, we're happy. This muscle injury is different in how we assess it.

"He's in the last part of his recovery and we'll see as soon as possible if he can be available to be involved with the team."

Spurs are 4/6 to win on Saturday with Burnley 4/1 and the draw 11/4.

With Liverpool not in action until Sunday and Manchester City involved in the EFL Cup final, Spurs have the chance to close the gap on the top two on Saturday.

Burnley meanwhile are on a seven-match unbeaten run but are still too close to the bottom three for comfort, having just a three-point advantage over Southampton who sit in the last relegation place.

Spurs are 20/1 to win the title this year while Burnley are 10/3 to be relegated.

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Poch relishes Spurs performance

Mauricio Pochettino paid tribute to his amazing Spurs players after they secured a 3-0 win against Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Goals from Son Heung-Min, Jan Vertonghen and Fernando Llorente gave Tottenham a huge advantage to take into the second leg, with Pochettino clearly joyful at how his side have reacted to having to make do without several injured players.

He told reporters: "The team is fighting, I am so proud. They deserve full credit. What they are doing is amazing.

"It's good because the expectation when people watch Tottenham is not only to win, it's to see a (good) performance.

"That is very good, we feel very proud when people expect that from our performance, but sometimes people underestimate us.

"We play much better than people assess us sometimes, but you cannot fight with the perception of people. I am happy with the performance and the circumstances we have."

Meanwhile, Pochettino also warned against thinking that the tie was already done and dusted, with the return in Dortmund taking place on Tuesday 5th March.

He added: "Three-nil is a very good result, but at the same time I think we need to think that we need to finish the job.

"Always when we play this competition and against a good side like Dortmund it is very difficult."

Tottenham can now be backed at 1/20 to reach the Champions League quarter-finals, with Dortmund available at 10/1, while the Londoners are 16/1 to win the competition.

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