Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham need a home win on Monday night at Wembley as they welcome Watford for their Premier League tie. The Lillywhites will be looking for a return to winning ways. Every point counts as the battle for the Champions League places heats up. A sting from The Hornets will be painful for club and fans.
Mauricio Pochettino: “I still have a three-year contract”
With the Premier League won, it’s now down to the runners-up to provide the end of season entertainment. Chelsea are just five points behind Tottenham, possibly reduced to two should The Blues win their game this weekend. Spurs can ill afford another costly draw against a team that, on paper, they should beat.
Their recent lacklustre effort against Brighton will be exactly what Pochettino will want to avoid. It’s a tough ask for the North Londoners, who must pick themselves up from their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United.
Now three games without a win, it is vital for Spurs not to repeat the stuttering finishes that have plagued them over the last few seasons.
No go for Mo Po
Pochettino, in a pre-match press conference, told reporters he had no intention of leaving the club this summer. His ambiguous comments following the semi-final, indicating that Spurs would go on “with me or another” had sparked speculation. Whispers he was contemplating a move away from Spurs set the rumour mill to full power.
He spoke today, however, of his excitement for the immediate future at the club. When asked to clarify those post semi-final comments, he spoke freely of the work being done at the club.
He said: “After three or four years we are now able to compete with these clubs like United, City or Chelsea and Liverpool. But still a lot of work to do. I think it’s an exciting project at Tottenham, different from other clubs. I still have a three-year contract. Then obviously a decision.”
When questioned as to whether the mentality of the players is an issue he was quick to dispel the idea: “We’re close, we’re not going to give up. When you’re close the most important thing is to keep going. Work tougher, working harder and believe. It’s not a time to blame. “
Pochettino has the luxury again of a relatively fully fit squad. The only two players unlikely to feature are Harry Winks and Danny Rose. Harry Kane will be looking to regain his scoring ways, so will likely start. Dele Alli also, who scored an early goal on the same fixture last season.
Deeney Leaves a Gap for Watford
Watford will be without Troy Deeney after he injured his foot in the goalless draw with Crystal Palace. Sebastian Prodl and Andre Carrillo could return from injury to make the short trip to Wembley. Watford currently lie in 12th position in the Premier League. Winning only one of their last five outings.
Spurs have lost only twice at home in the Premier League this season; to Chelsea early on and more recently Manchester City. Quite a feat when there was much talk of a ‘Wembley Curse.’ Having not lost a home game in their final season at White Hart Lane, they will be looking to finish their Wembley season in the same manner.
More importantly, Spurs must finish in the top four. Chelsea are the immediate danger, possibly closing the gap on Spurs to just two points this weekend. That is if they win their away clash with Swansea.
Spurs Must go Fourth and Rise
Tottenham fans have become understandably more expectant from their team, finishing outside of the Champions League places will simply be unacceptable. The need magnified by the shiny new stadium, the increased pricing and another good season proving fruitless.
The words from Pochettino at the press conference will go a long way to placate worried fans. The Argentinian coach has become an icon at Spurs. His continued presence in North London outweighs any marquee signings.
Loss of the ‘12th Man’ from Spurs would be damaging on so many levels. The new Tottenham army would slow down the march to top-level equality should their iconic general abandon his post.
Following the shock exit of Arsene Wenger from Arsenal, Spurs fans won’t need reminding of the plethora of managers they’ve seen attempt to steer their ship. The last thing they and club want is a step backwards towards the mediocrity they have so long endured.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 28, 2018