Belfast Telegraph

Mauricio Pochettino knows a win at Watford will lift the mood

Mauricio Pochettino admits he cannot afford to be downbeat as he tries to lift Tottenham out of their mid-season slump.

Spurs face in-form Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday when they will be chasing their first Premier League win in four matches.

The dip has seen Pochettino's men slide to seventh in the table, with Champions League qualification now their only realistic target this term.

Defeat to Leicester on Tuesday followed a dreary draw at home to West Brom last weekend and Pochettino says it has been hard to hide his frustration.

"It is so difficult because we take it so personally, the defeat. When we win I feel okay but when we lose it is like I am responsible," Pochettino said.

"I don't like to share the responsibility of the defeat but that is more personal, more how I feel. And sometimes in a few hours, in a few days sometimes it is difficult to find your space and your place to think and you need to be alone.

"But of course always it is not about you. You need to reflect when you are responsible about the team, about the staff, about everything you need to show the right message, the right emotion.

"Sometimes when you are away, you go home and go to bed quick, maybe you do different things, but here when you have the responsibility to create good feelings and emotion and atmosphere, it is important sometimes not to show too much if you are disappointed."

Tottenham have enjoyed a brilliant campaign in the Champions League, where they have already secured first place in Group H ahead of next week's game against Apoel Nicosia.

But their European form has not been matched domestically, where they now sit 16 points behind run-away leaders Manchester City.

"Of course it's true the expectation was massive this season," Pochettino said.

"It was okay from the beginning, in the summer, not too much expectation. Then the team started doing well, and doing very well, and we beat Real Madrid, Liverpool, like this, and again the expectation was amazing.

"And then a few results didn't arrive and after the defeat against Arsenal, it's like all negative again. In a few weeks, things can change again.

"A few weeks ahead, maybe we win, win, win, win, and maybe we are in the top four, and we are going to talk in a different way. That is football."

Erik Lamela is again likely to be named as a substitute against Watford after making his first appearance in over a year from the bench at Leicester.

Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama, however, have hamstring and knee injuries respectively and are still out.

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