Chelsea’s shock defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday has done much to reignite excitement in this season’s title race, after Tottenham’s win at Burnley cut the gap at the top to seven points. The difference remains a sizeable one with nine games left to play, yet the North Londoners could reduce that gap to a mere point by Saturday if results transpire in their favour.
Tottenham face a trip to Swansea on Tuesday before entertaining Watford in Saturday’s early kick-off. Meanwhile, Chelsea face a tricky home fixture against Manchester City on Wednesday, before featuring in Saturday’s late kick-off at Bournemouth. Providing the Blues are beaten by Manchester City, two wins for Spurs will see them move to just a point behind Chelsea by the time the latter face the Cherries.
Speaking to The Sun, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino challenged his side to believe they can push Chelsea, but take things one game at a time.
“It’s crazy that it could be down to one point but that’s football”, he said.
“Nothing is impossible and that is our philosophy. Belief is the most important thing in football. Not only quality but belief, faith and fight.
“We’ve reduced the gap but it’s a big gap. Winning the next game is most important. We are fighting for a top four place and need to keep our position. Then we will see.
“Our focus must be Swansea and it will be a very tough game because they are battling for survival in the Premier League.”
Paul Clement, the manager of Tuesday night’s opposition, has heaped praise on the North Londoners ahead of their visit to South Wales, insisting that they will continue to push Chelsea until the end of the season.
“They have been challenging for the last couple of seasons and Mauricio Pochettino has done a really good job,” Clement told the London Evening Standard.
“He has a good, young squad who play exciting football. The Chelsea result has probably given them belief that they can take the title race right to the end of the season.
“I think it will be an interesting game for us. They will want to win here and we need points too.”
Meanwhile, Manchester United defender Luke Shaw was issued a ‘come and get me plea to Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, The Sun claims.
Shaw’s future at Old Trafford appears to be in tatters after Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho questioned his focus, commitment, and attitude in training when asked about the England defender following United’s goalless draw with West Brom.
With the former Southampton player behind Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Ashley Young, and Matteo Darmian in the pecking order at Old Trafford, and not having featured for the Red Devils since 4 March, it is thought that Shaw wishes to join Spurs and link up with Pochettino, whom he worked under at St. Mary’s when the Argentine was in charge.
Finally, Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed that key defensive midfielder Victor Wanyama will need to be assessed on Tuesday ahead of Tottenham’s trip to Swansea.
The former Saints midfielder has become a key member of the Spurs side this season and was withdrawn at half-time over the weekend after an aerial collision with Burnley’s Ashley Barnes. He may feature at the Liberty Stadium but must undergo a fitness test first.
“On Monday he wasn’t on the training pitch. We’ll see. He will have a chance to be in the squad but we need to assess him on Tuesday,” Pochettino told the London Evening Standard.
Were Wanyama to sit-out, Pochettino could re-deploy Eric Dier in defensive-midfield, which would then command a defensive re-shuffle, with Ben Davies likely to come in.
Yet Pochettino will be grateful that the prognosis of Wanyama’s injury is not serious, given that the injuries are piling up ahead of the crucial run-in. Harry Winks is the latest to join the injury list of Erik Lamela, Harry Kane, and Danny Rose, and is rated likely to miss the remainder of the campaign.
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