City clash offers Tottenham the chance to get plaudits, but only if they can triumph
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Pochettino has beaten Guardiola before, yet a win against the ex-Barcelona manager this time might be his best triumph over him to date
Spurs will entertain Manchester City on Monday in the Premier League at Wembley Stadium and it seems only a home win will get the team some credit.
While Liverpool continue to earn plaudits for ‘winning ugly’ and the club’s rivals down the road get praise for an admittedly impressive run of victories, Tottenham Hotspur remain under the radar.
It doesn’t bother boss Mauricio Pochettino who had the press in a fit of laughter after Saturday’s 1-0 win at West Ham United.
He was asked what Tottenham need to do to receive acclaim from the media like Liverpool, even though the sides are separated by only two points in the table.
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After taking time to understand the question at first, Pochettino, following a slight pause, said: “I don’t care.”
Cue laughter from everyone in the press conference before the Spurs boss continued.
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He explained: “Look, I don’t know maybe for me it doesn’t mean anything, but for you and others it’s different eh?
“It’s not a problem, it’s not a problem for me so it doesn’t matter if people don’t want to give credit to us or the team or Tottenham.
“I think the most important thing is we are here to try to win games, to be in a good position with the table, to manage a lot of circumstances that happen at the club which are not the ideal circumstances to work if we want one day to win titles.
“To play in Wembley, Milton Keynes – different circumstances, so we have to say ‘come on, if we are realistic, we need to celebrate the position we are in and receive praise for that’ but it doesn’t matter if we don’t get praise.
“I am not here to make some people happy. Only we want to be responsible with our club, with our squad and players and after try to manage circumstances and be professional, so that is the most important thing.
“If the people will give credit to us, fantastic, if not keep going, pushing and work to try to win games because that is our job.”
Spurs may be outside of the top four after nine games, but they have won seven times and this is the best start the club have made to a Premier League season.
Factor in six of their matches have been away, the growing injury list they have and the fact the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is still not ready, you would have expected Pochettino to get more credit for the Lilywhites domestic form.
Perhaps it is Spurs’ struggles in Europe which have contributed towards the general mixed feeling surrounding the club.
Simply put - Pochettino’s men have underperformed in the Champions League and that has taken up most of the discussion surrounding Tottenham this term.
What would get Spurs credit is a strong showing against league champions Man City on Monday, but suffer a third league defeat and more negativity will circle the club.
Right now there seems a fine line between the team being on course for success and in a crisis and Wednesday’s draw at PSV is tipping the scale back towards the latter.
Given the circumstances Pochettino mentioned, it is unfair to call the current scenario a disaster, but the Argentinian is well aware only good results will appease those who are unhappy.
Unfortunately, directly in front of Tottenham are City, who are arguably the best team in the country and have been for the past year.
Pochettino has beaten Pep Guardiola before though, yet a win against the ex-Barcelona manager this time might be his best triumph over him to date.