After Tottenham Hotspur had finally achieved a feat that at one point seemed so frustratingly impossible, Mauricio Pochettino was emboldened enough to insist that the 2016-17 title itself is still possible.
His rampant team might remain four points behind Chelsea, but the way they overwhelmed Arsenal to win 2-0 in the last ever north London derby at the old White Hart Lane and also ensure they would finish ahead of their rivals for the first time in 22 years fired a belief that they can still do something that most consider beyond them.
“With four to play, all is possible in football,” Pochettino said.
The Argentine revealed that, although he and his staff had watched Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Everton before his own team took to the field, his players did not and were not aware of the result.
“They were really focused on the game and I think they didn’t realise what happened at Everton. We knew because we were watching, but they were very focused.”
When asked whether they were any way disappointed once they learned of the result at Goodison Park, Pochettino laughed.
“What? After 2-0 here against Arsenal. You believe we are disappointed? They know they need to be proud of the performance and they need to now rest and don’t think too much and enjoy the day off tomorrow and on Tuesday be focused again to be ready on Friday.
“I feel very proud, first of all because the players played their best and they were fantastic. And for our fans I feel very happy for them. It was a fantastic game and yes, we are in the race for the title.
“We reduce again the gap to Chelsea. And now we have to be focused because we have again on Friday a very important game against West Ham and now it’s important to be focused on that game.
“Now its important to feel proud, happy, because the last game against Arsenal and all that means for our fans and those who love Tottenham, it was a fantastic afternoon and yes of course disappointed because we have not reduced the gap on Chelsea but so proud of the performance of the team and our support.”
As has become typical in Pochettino’s reign, the Argentine played down the importance of finishing above Arsenal, asserting that Spurs have bigger targets but also stressing his respect for Arsene Wenger
“Yes I am happy as when always you play a derby like Tottenham-Arsenal, always it is important to win. But I have a massive respect for him [Wenger].
“I admire him for what he is doing in a club like Arsenal and it is a fantastic job. I am so happy but our challenge is and our aim is not only to beat Arsenal but also the 19 teams in the Premier League.
“Of course I am very happy but I am very happy. I am so calm as we have four games to play and now is important to be focused and to try to reduce the gap to Chelsea.”