Belfast Telegraph

Mauricio Pochettino is keeping his Tottenham stars grounded after West Ham Premier League win

Tottenham 4 - West Ham 1

By Tom Allnutt

Mauricio Pochettino insists it is too early to talk about Tottenham as title contenders despite an emphatic 4-1 win over West Ham.

Two goals from Harry Kane and one each from Toby Alderweireld and Kyle Walker helped extend Spurs' unbeaten run to 12 league matches, which equals a club record. Manuel Lanzini scored a late consolation for the Hammers.

The victory puts Tottenham four points behind surprise table-toppers Leicester and with Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United all unconvincing in recent weeks, Pochettino's side seem capable of keeping pace.

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"It is early to start talking about that, there is too far to go until the end of the season," Pochettino said.

"We have a young squad, we need to develop our way to be consistent. It is true we have shown from the beginning of the season we are consistent but to win the title we need more.

"It is step by step. It is difficult to say what will happen in four or five months. We need to keep working hard and keep our feet on the ground."

Tottenham were two up at half-time but it could have been more given they missed a number of early chances, including Kane scuffing wide when sent through one-on-one with Adrian.

The striker showed no signs of dwelling on his error, however, driving home a third in the second-half - his eighth goal in five games - before Walker added a fourth with a bending effort late on.

Pochettino was even afforded the luxury of taking off Kane, Dele Alli and Son Heung-min, with a five-hour Europa League trip to Qarabag to come on Thursday.

"It was a complete performance from the team. Fantastic," Pochettino said.

"One of the best performances of the season. We are very proud of the players, we congratulate them, there are a lot of positives.

"The best word to describe my feelings is proud. In particular, I think you can feel from the touchline the players believe in the way we play."

The one disappointment for Spurs saw Alli pick up a needless yellow card, which means he is suspended for Sunday's clash with Chelsea.

Tottenham were leading 3-0 when Alli became involved in an altercation with Mark Noble after the West Ham midfielder had made an innocuous tap on Kane.

"He is young," Pochettino said. "He has played 10 or 12 games in the Premier League. He is 19. Last week was his first start for the national team (England).

"We need to stay calm with him. He has a strong character but he needs to stay calm. Football is about experience to ensure next time he is relaxed."

West Ham have beaten Arsenal, Liverpool and City already away from home this season but they were a pale shadow of the team that managed those dangerous and disciplined displays.

Defensive errors continually put Slaven Bilic's side in trouble at White Hart Lane and, now sitting sixth, they will need to rediscover their resilience if they are to remain in the European places.

"A surprise is a word for something good - it was a shock. We deserved to lose 4-1," Bilic said.

"I thought we could come back in the second-half because we created some good stuff but after the third goal, it just killed the game and to be fair after that it was all them.

"We played really badly but we have to admit they played a really good game of football.

"They were quicker than us, physically stronger than us, they grew in confidence and they were skilful also. No excuses, they were much better."

Belfast Telegraph


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