Belfast Telegraph

It'll make a change for neutrals wanting Tottenham Hostpur to win: Pochettino

Watford 1 Tottenham 4

By Nick Szczepanik

Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham Hostpur manager, accepts that neutrals will be hoping his team come out on top when Chelsea visit White Hart Lane on Wednesday.

Premier League leaders Chelsea are six points clear of Liverpool and 10 ahead of Tottenham, and the Argentinian thinks that most fans and rival teams will want his team to prevent Antonio Conte's running away with the title. And he insists that a home win will be good for the competition as well as Spurs' own chances.

"I think it's important for the Premier League and for us to try to win and try to stop them and reduce the gap for us because in the end for us the challenge is to try to be at the top," he said.

And he added that having the nation on their side will be a welcome reversal of last season, when Leicester City were the neutral's favourites and the majority welcomed the 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Tottenham at Stamford Bridge that ensured that Spurs could not catch Claudio Ranieri's Leicester.

"Yes, maybe we will feel how Leicester felt last season when all the teams were with them and against us," Pochettino said. "Maybe they felt the same as us last season. But you know Chelsea arrive in very good shape, we too after the last few games. For me it will be a very, very tough game to try to stop them and try to reduce the gap."

The 4-1 win at Watford was a perfect tune-up, hardly requiring Spurs to break sweat and boosting Spurs' confidence as they won without the suspended Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker, both of whom will be available against Chelsea.

Pochettino said he was "very pleased, very elated with the performance. The first half was great. I think it was one of the best performances so far. It was nearly a perfect game. The shame was that we conceded a goal in the last minute.

"We scored from the beginning and at that moment I think the game was over. We controlled it and created some chances. Now two, three days to try to prepare in the best way, in better conditions, for the game against Chelsea."

He also praised the two-goal contributions of Harry Kane and Dele Alli and stand-ins Kevin Wimmer and Kieran Trippier, who set up both of Kane's goals. "Yes, I think [Harry] was very good, him and Dele, and that they scored, but the performance of the team, the average was high and I'm pleased with the performance of the whole team. Very pleased with players like Trippier and Wimmer who don't have the opportunity to play too much but make us more competitive. Their performance was fantastic."

Walter Mazzarri, the Watford head coach, described the result as his 'lowest moment' in charge but bemoaned the bad luck.

"If you play against Tottenham when you are missing 10 players, maybe five or six of a starting eleven, you know it won't be easy," he said.

WATFORD: Gomes, Cathcart, Kaboul, Prodl, Amrabat (Sinclair, 75 mins), Capoue (Kabasele, 79 mins), Guedioura, Holebas (Mason, 68 mins), Doucoure, Deeney, Ighalo. Unused subs: Pantilimon, Stewart, Rowan, Folivi.

TOTTENHAM: Lloris, Dier, Wimmer, Alderweireld, Trippier, Wanyama, Alli (Winks, 61 mins), Eriksen, Rose (Davies, 68 mins), Kane (Janssen, 77 mins), Son. Unused subs: Vorm, Sissoko, Dembele, Carter-Vickers.

Referee: Michael Oliver

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