Mauricio Pochettino urges Tottenham to think bigger than just finishing above Arsenal ahead of derby

Jack Pitt-Brooke
Pochettino still won't give up on catching Chelsea ahead of the north London derby: Getty

Mauricio Pochettino has told his Tottenham players to think about “bigger dreams” than just finishing ahead of Arsenal as they continue to push for the Premier League title.

Spurs kept the gap to Chelsea at four points after their late 1-0 win at Selhurst Park, their eighth consecutive Premier League win in a row. That run may not be enough to haul in Chelsea, but Pochettino was upbeat afterwards about Spurs’ season. He said that even if they are not successful this year, they are building the right mentality to win trophies, and that they will finish this season stronger than they did last year.

“We are not thinking about being above Arsenal. Our challenge now is to try and reduce the gap to Chelesa again, and to think about bigger things than only to be above Arsenal,” Pochettino said. “For one day, to win big trophies and achieve big things, your mentality must be bigger. You must think about bigger dreams. Big dreams. It's important to have them.”

Spurs’ win takes their Premier League points tally to 74, their highest ever, with another five games left to go. That is a source of great pride for Pochettino and he said it pointed to their continued improvement under his management, that this year’s title challenge is even stronger than last year’s.

“We are showing that we learned a lot from last season as a team,” Pochettino said. “The team is showing that. That is so important because last season was a big challenge. Last season the team were fantastic, playing well, and it was a massive challenge to improve again. It looks like we are better, more mature.”

But Spurs have taken an extra step beyond last year, which Pochettino said was in their heads. “We improved a lot this season and one area that was key for us to improve was in our mental attitude,” Pochettino said. “The team are now showing we are ready. We are ready this season to fight and, next season, we'll be even better. We are in a very good way to develop our philosophy.”

Ultimately winning is the only way to improve and Pochettino was delighted with the mental strength his team is showing in difficult circumstances, which is ensuring their growth as a group ahead of next season. “After every victory, the most important thing for us is you build your confidence, trust and belief,” he said. “It's more for us than to send a message to our opponents. That for me is good. It's about building confidence, your faith that you can win. Then to fight on the pitch. It's not mind games. It's about building a strong belief, a winning mentality. That's the only way you can do that.”

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