Despite being touted as potential contenders for the title in recent years, for Tottenham, actually achieving the coveted silverware has always been a step too far. Last season was the closest they came, with Spurs in a title race with Leicester right until the bitter end when an end of season collapse saw them eventually finish 11 points behind the Foxes, and even concede second place to bitter rivals Arsenal.
Already ten points behind leaders Chelsea, it is beginning to look a tall order for Spurs to haul back the ground and give themselves a chance of any success this year, but manager Mauricio Pochettino has remained defiant, claiming that winning the Premier League title with the North London club is his dream, and that his side this time round are actually stronger than 12 months ago, despite a greater distance between themselves and the leaders.
The Argentine manager is now in his third year at White Hart Lane, and affirmed his hope of winning the league with Spurs in an interview with Sky Sports, describing the club as “fantastic to achieve things with”. He also believes they are in a good position to make progress despite last season’s disappointment.
“It is our dream to win the Premier League. It is our premier competition. For us, it is our first step,” Pochettino said.
“I am very happy here – me and my staff as well as my family. I think we find that we are in a very good place to ensure we can work hard. It is a big club with lots of supporters and it is a fantastic club to achieve big things with.
“We finished third in the league last season. It was a tough summer because the way that we finished the season was bad. We showed some weakness at the end of the season that we need to try and work out which is always important”.
Although Spurs have struggled to recapture the form that they showed last season in the heat of their title race with Leicester, and failed in their efforts to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League, Pochettino remains adamant that Spurs have become a stronger side since.
“When you compete with a big side, it is always difficult, but it shows we are a better team than last season. We have had some problems in the last months after beating Manchester City.
“There were more things that maybe made it difficult for us to compete at our best and I think now we are in a good position to try to achieve good results.
“We need to work hard because teams like Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, they have all improved. It is true that the Premier League is tougher than last season because all the big teams are improving their squads but we are confident in ours.”
Tottenham are still awaiting the completion of their new stadium, which is scheduled to be ready by the start of the 2018/19 campaign and Pochettino believes that the move will help Spurs compete for titles in the long run.
“I think for us, our first challenge is to finish the new stadium. We have brilliant facilities on the training ground and I think the new stadium can help a lot for us to fight for the titles.
“We have to wait now and it’s all about time. It’s difficult to ask for time in football but I think we are in a good process. A good challenge is to arrive at the new stadium and at that moment, be in the position to fight for titles.”
On the transfer front, the Argentine has also been working away behind the scenes helping plot Tottenham’s January transfer business, and according to the Daily Express, a chase is set to begin between themselves, Chelsea and Manchester United for Atalanta midfielder Franck Kessie, who is enjoying a breakthrough season in Italy’s Serie A.
19-year-old Kessie is a capped Ivory Coast international and has been in fine form this season, scoring five goals in 15 appearances to propel Atalanta up to sixth in the table. He is likely to miss around a month’s worth of league action however, given that he is set to be part of the Les Elephants squad that will compete in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
His impressive displays had prompted talk that Manchester United and Chelsea were interested in acquiring his services, but now, quoting Italian online outlet Calcio Mercato, the reckoning at the Express is that Spurs are now leading the race for his signature.
It is thought that Spurs are willing to spend as much as £19million to bring him to White Hart Lane when the transfer window reopens next month, despite Mauricio Pochettino’s declaration that their would be no ‘panic buys’ or ‘silly money signings’ this January.
Kessie could potentially be a replacement for Moussa Sissoko, who has failed to settle since joining from Newcastle in the summer, although the likelihood of this is unknown given that the Frenchman has made reasonable progress in recent matches.
Manchester United are interested in the youngster whom they see as a potential long-term replacement for Michael Carrick, whilst Chelsea are keen to bolster their midfield with John Obi Mikel potentially heading for a Stamford Bridge exit.
Serie A champions Juventus were initially favourites to sign the Ivorian, but now it is claimed that the Old Lady are more keen on recruiting Belgium international Axel Witsel.
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