‘Happy’ Pochettino still wants more after third successive league win
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Tottenham Hotspur failed to hit top form against new boys Cardiff City, but did get the job done in the end
Mauricio Pochettino was happy to see Spurs grind out a 1-0 win over Cardiff City in the Premier League today, but warned they must improve going forward if they are to secure a place in the top four or be contenders come the end of the season.
Eric Dier’s eighth-minute tap-in secured all three points for Tottenham Hotspur on a truly forgettable day in Brent.
A crowd of 43,268 turned up to watch the Lilywhites take on Neil Warnock’s City in the pouring rain and it is safe to say the match will not live long in the memory.
Pochettino admitted: “It wasn’t the best performance. I think we fully deserved the victory and the three points and in the end that’s the most important thing because we’re in a very good position in the table - one point to the top.
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“But of course, if we want to, at the end of the season, be in the same position as today in the table and be a contender then we need to improve a lot in our performance.
“We play after the defeat against Barcelona and always it’s so difficult, but of course I’m happy because of the victory. I think we can play better and we need to play better if we want to in the end be a contender in the end for the top four.”
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The third league victory in a row for Spurs moved them above Chelsea and up to third spot in the table with 18 points – one off joint-leaders Manchester City and Liverpool, who do battle on Sunday.
It was the last match before the players head off on international duty and the whole day seemed glum.
After the sun was shining on Wednesday night as Lionel Messi produced a brilliant display to help Barcelona defeat Tottenham 4-2 in the Champions League, for the visit of the Bluebirds the heavens opened.
When Pochettino walked out ahead of kick-off, he would have looked around the stadium and seen a number of empty, red seats.
He said: “Yes, I was little bit surprised it was empty, but I understand that this is so difficult. We cannot ask for more from our fans.
“Of course it was a difficult day, the weather and everything, and it’s not easy. But yes, I am always honest and I was a bit surprised at the last stand or tier being empty.”
A negative towards the end of the fixture was Danny Rose being forced off with what seemed a slight groin injury.
He also aggravated this issue against Huddersfield Town on September 29 and had to be content with a place on the bench against Barcelona as a result.
Pochettino was unsure of the prognosis of the injury, but hoped it would not keep the left-back out of England’s upcoming Nations League matches.
“It was the same as it was after Huddersfield. It was a problem in his groin. He felt it again,” the 46-year-old said.
“We hope it is nothing important, but of course we need to assess. He needs to go to the national team and see what happens. He needs to check in with the national team.”
Spurs will return to competitive action after the international break with a trip to local rivals West Ham United on October 20.