Tottenham Hotspur can’t afford to suffer FA Cup semi-final hangover against Watford with Chelsea on their tails
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Mauricio Pochettino has called for focus ahead of the final four Premier League games of the season with a top-four finish not yet guaranteed
By the time Spurs entertain Watford at Wembley on Monday the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United will feel like a long time ago and the hope is it will prevent a hangover.
Tottenham Hotspur and manager Mauricio Pochettino were left frustrated and disappointed after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to United at the national stadium.
Their last chance of winning silverware this season was ended at their temporary home and they return to the same venue on Monday to take on London rivals the Hornets in the Premier League.
When Spurs face Watford, they could be only two points ahead of Chelsea in the race for a top-four finish and it is vital they don’t slip up in the 8pm kick-off.
Pochettino, speaking after the FA Cup loss, said: “Maybe you can arrive in a semi-final and win or arrive in a final and win some trophies, but the most important thing now is to finish in the top four and play again in the Champions League for the club.
“We are building the new stadium. We played the whole season at Wembley which you know is very difficult to play. That is stress that is not only for the team, but for the fans.
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“It was difficult when we started the season, but for me now is the time to keep going. I was disappointed (about losing to Man United), but now I’m thinking about trying to finish the season in the best way.
“We have four games ahead and we need to make sure we play in the Champions League again. I’m sure it will be a very successful season if we are able to keep our position in the table.”
Spurs are currently fourth, but with Chelsea breathing down their neck they must hold their nerve over the next month.
If Tottenham were to miss out on a top-four finish now, given the lead they held over the Blues, it would be a monumental choke.
Generally Pochettino’s team have bounced back well following disappointment, but failing to do so now, and in the process missing out on the Champions League for next season, would be a huge blow.
Monday’s match is the first of a relatively favourable run between now and the end of the campaign.
After entertaining 12th-placed Watford, Spurs travel to West Bromwich Albion on May 5 and they should be relegated by then.
Tottenham then host mid-table clubs Newcastle United on May 9 and Leicester City on May 13. Three wins will guarantee a top-four finish and the first of them must come on Monday.