Pochettino dismisses Spurs 'favourites' tag

AFP , Tuesday 1 Mar 2016

Mauricio Pochettino
Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino (Photo: AFP)

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino on Tuesday laughed off Leicester City counterpart Claudio Ranieri's claim that his team are the favourites for the Premier League title.

Surprise leaders Leicester are two points clear of Spurs ahead of the mid-week matches, with Arsenal three points further back in third place.

Ranieri said on Monday that it is Spurs, without a league title since 1961, who should be considered favourites to take the title, but Pochettino believes the Italian was being mischievous.

"Mind games? No, it was a joke. I laughed a little bit," the Argentine told a press conference ahead of his side's trip to London rivals West Ham United on Wednesday.

"In football it is good to play a little bit like this too. Our objective at the end of last season was clear: to reduce the gap with the teams at the top."

He added: "For me Leicester are at the top and they have the pressure too, like all the teams below. We don't feel that.

"Only for us it is important to keep our level, our fitness, our mentality and we'll see what happens. It's too soon to speak about the end of the season."

Pochettino revealed that midfielder Dele Alli was a doubt for the trip to Upton Park after kicking the ground during the warm-up before Tottenham's 2-1 win over Swansea City on Sunday.

"Dele had a problem before the game against Swansea," said Pochettino, whose side host Arsenal this weekend.

"During the game he suffered some different things. We need to assess him tomorrow (Wednesday) and then decide."

Mousa Dembele will miss the trip to sixth-place West Ham with a groin strain, but Tom Carroll is available again following an Achilles injury.

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