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Full Time

Pochettino remains focused with Champions League hopes in Tottenham’s hands

Spurs are just two points ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea going into the final two games of the season.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is pleased his side still have their Champions League aspirations in their own hands.

Spurs are just two points ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea going into the final two games of the season, the first of which sees Newcastle visit Wembley on Wednesday.

But Pochettino’s men are limping over the line, having been 10 points clear of their London rivals at the start of April, and Saturday’s last-gasp defeat to West Brom made it a nerve-wracking end to the season.

Victories over Newcastle and then Leicester on Sunday would see them book a third-successive year in the Champions League and Pochettino says his side remain in pole position.

“It’s sure everyone from the beginning of the season (would have signed up) to be in that situation at the end of the season, fighting for the top four,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“I think today it’s more about being focused as a team, as a club and trying to win the last two games and be sure in the top four because it’s in our hands.

“Of course we’re disappointed because of the last game, and because we lost the semi-final against Manchester United, or because of the Champions League match against Juventus.

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Spurs suffered a potentially damaging defeat to West Brom at the weekend

“But we are there, we are there competing, trying to succeed, pushing hard, working hard, and I think to be now, in four days, to have the option or have it in your hands to be third, I think it’s an ideal situation for us and we need to enjoy that, and we need to be focused now on competing and trying to win. That’s it.”

Despite not challenging for the title – which they did for parts of the last two seasons – Pochettino has still described their campaign as “amazing”.

“Last season at White Hart Lane we played 19 games in the Premier League and we won 17 and drew twice,” he said.

“The team was complete, unbelievable with the fans, without the corner, remember, at White Hart Lane. We were playing fantastic, we were very confident about winning. After, you move to Wembley.

“You finish second in the league, you move to Wembley and of course there’s a lot of fears because the Champions League wasn’t great the previous season.

“If you analyse all in context I think it’s an amazing season – to have the possibility with two games left to finish third, I think it’s massively successful.

“But I understand people want more. We want more. We’re ambitious.

“For me it’s like a marathon, to create a team capable of winning, to build a winning mentality is like a marathon.

“It’s a long-term development and trying to….sometimes with ups and downs but always going up, and I think that is the progression of the club and the team.

“I am sure disappointed of course if we don’t achieve in the next few years a title – of course – but what we cannot do is to forget from where we came.”

Spurs will be without midfielders Eric Dier (illness), Mousa Dembele (ankle) and defender Serge Aurier (hamstring), though Jan Vertonghen is fit after a knock.

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