Pochettino says Spurs are ‘1,000 miles ahead’ of where they were in his first season

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. Picture: PA

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham are “1,000 miles ahead” of where they were in his first season at the club, and he believes his side are “looking like the best team in the world” as the Lilywhites prepare to visit Manchester City on Saturday.

Spurs have won their last six Premier League fixtures and will travel to the Etihad Stadium as the most in-form club in Europe’s top five leagues.

Pochettino said: “I think if we go backward to the first season and we now start to see, analyse and judge, I think we are 1,000 miles ahead. In football it’s about belief, faith, working hard, and it’s true that we have moved on the club in two and a half years.

“That was our expectation – to push and move the club quickly. Sometimes it’s not possible but it’s true that now we are in a very good period and I think all that is related with Tottenham is exciting. You can see the new stadium, the team, the squad - all that happens is very positive.

“Before we arrived here two and a half years ago, when things were related about Tottenham, some things were good and some not so good. Today it’s looking like we are the best team in the world! But that is very good. The hard work is to keep that feeling. It will be difficult but we will try.”

Spurs will visit a Man City side that lost 4-0 at Everton last weekend and are lying 10 points behind league leaders Chelsea.

But Pochettino said: “I think be careful because they are only three points behind us and they are in the Champions League and the FA Cup. There are a lot of games and competition ahead.

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“It’s normal, the expectation was massive [for City] and there was a conversion in the summer that was different to us, but I think we need to be calm. The judgement is always at the end and it’s impossible now to judge their performance on half a season.

“I know [Pep] Guardiola very well and he’s a great manager and you can expect different things. For me he’s one of the best managers in the world.

“It’s normal in English football. In the last few years the level has increased a lot and it’s always difficult to arrive in a new club, change philosophies and settle your principles and values.

“But he’s doing very well. The top six are very close together and we are in a similar situation. I’m sure in the end he will be a success because he is a great manager.

“Every game is completely different, with different emotions. It’s sure they are not happy with last week and in front of their own supporters they will try and change the feeling they got against Everton.

“For us, we need to focus on developing our game in the best way to show we can be a real contender for the Premier League – that, for us, is the most important challenge.

“It’s more important for us to show ourselves that we can be a real contender, rather than to show Manchester City. We need to show ourselves that we are capable of dealing with that pressure and winning games to achieve big things.”

Meanwhile, there is less than two weeks until the end of the January transfer window, and Pochettino maintains he expects little movement at Tottenham.

Tom Carroll left for Swansea on Tuesday but that is set to be the only departure, and Spurs’ manager dismissed suggestions that another academy graduate, Josh Onomah, might benefit from a loan move.

“I think it’s clear Josh is a potential first-team player like Cameron [Carter-Vickers] and Harry Winks – like all the youngsters in our academy,” said Pochettino.

“I think the best way to improve is training with us, and trying to show that he deserves to be involved. In that moment it’s sure that we will give him the opportunity to play and show his quality, but we’re not thinking to send him out on loan.”

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