It was a result that many will have hoped for, but little may have expected.
Nevertheless, former Chelsea boss José Mourinho returned to haunt his former club, as his Manchester United side overcame the Blues 2-0 at Old Trafford to hand Tottenham a lifeline in the title race, by cutting the gap between the North Londoners and their rivals from the west of the capital to a mere four points, with six games remaining.
Sunday’s circumstances at Old Trafford were out of Pochettino’s hands, but after the result went his side’s way, the Argentine coach was quick to lavish praise on his ‘unique’ Spurs side, calling it a memorable achievement that they have managed to regain so much ground on the wealthy Blues, when the gap between themselves and the top lay at 12 points back in February.
The Argentine’s comments came in the wake of their 4-0 win over Bournemouth, which secured the club’s seventh straight triumph in the Premier League, the first time Spurs have managed such a feat in fifty years.
“I think our answer is fantastic,” Pochettino told the Daily Mirror. “If you analyse where we came from, it’s a fantastic time for Tottenham.
“The way you build your project is important to analyse. Tottenham is not building now in an artificial way.
“It is not about putting in money, money, money, and building a fantastic stadium and fantastic team”.
Pochettino’s comments will come across as something of a dig at their big-spending West London rivals, and will surely stoke the fire ahead of the FA Cup semi-final tie which will take place between the two clubs at Wembley the weekend following Easter.
In the league, the Blues still maintain a slight advantage, but the outcome of this cup semi-final could hand a huge psychological boost to the winners ahead of the title race, whilst also offering Spurs the chance to seize some silverware from the Blues if they fail to overhaul them in their quest for the Premier League.
But Spurs will be going into the tie with their tails up after hauling back Chelsea’s 12 point advantage in the league, also in the knowledge that they ended the Blues’ 13-match unbeaten run back in January with a 2-0 win at White Hart Lane, the last meeting between the teams.
Now, the first-time this season, Antonio Conte’s side have begun to look like they may crack under pressure when it really matters, and the Italian has not only declared that the title is his team’s to lose, but conceded that Tottenham are the strongest team in the Premier League at present, in the wake of his side’s defeat at Old Trafford.
“I think Tottenham now are the best team, they are in good form and have a lot of enthusiasm. They are feeling the possibility to write history,” Conte said after his side’s defeat, as quoted by the Telegraph.
Conte showed great humility by placing the blame directly on his own shoulders for the manner of the loss, whilst candidly admitting that he feels his side’s chances of winning the title are now 50/50.
“I think we didn’t play a good game and United deserved to win the game because they showed more desire, motivation and ambition. It’s very simple. But in this case the fault is the coach because it means the coach was not able to inspire the right motivation, the right ambition to win.
“Against Crystal Palace we didn’t deserve to lose. Today we deserved to lose. We now have to look at the last six games as six cup finals. The league is open and we have 50 per cent probability to win the league. We must know this.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror claim that Tottenham may be ready to negotiate a third contract extension of the season with in-form midfielder Dele Alli, in order to stave off interest from Real Madrid over the summer.
The 21-year-old signed a second contract extension of the season back in September, in a deal worth a reported £55,000 a week which is set to run until 2022.
But with chairman Daniel Levy thought to be fearful of impending bids, and desperate to keep Mauricio Pochettino’s squad together, the club are thought to be ready to offer the youngster yet another improvement to his current deal, which could see his weekly earnings increase by £40million.
If there if any truth to the report, such an increase would place Alli firmly amongst the club’s top earners, which currently include Hugo Lloris and Harry Kane, who earn in excess of £100,000 a week.
The report also claims that improved deals may also be discussed with Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Son Heung-Min, whilst if any of Europe’s big guns come knocking for Alli, Levy is likely to command a fee in the region of the £85.3 million Real Madrid paid for Gareth Bale four years ago.