Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom | AFP |
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes his side delivered the “perfect” message to Premier League leaders Leicester City after an emphatic 4-0 win at Stoke City saw them close the gap at the top of the table to five points.
Leicester’s 2-2 draw at home to West Ham on Sunday gave Spurs the opportunity to reduce the deficit with four games remaining and they seized it in commanding style with a fourth win in five matches thanks to two goals each from the England duo of Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
“This is our dream. We need to believe,” said Pochettino, who is attempting to lead the Londoners to their first English championship since 1961.
“It is good for the competition that we are in behind to try and put pressure on Leicester. I feel very proud.
“Our supporters were fantastic and they feel proud of us. I think it is an exciting moment for the club,” the Argentinian added.
“In football all can happen and we need to be there. If Leicester fail we need to be there. That’s what we are trying to do, put the pressure on Leicester.
“The most important thing is the performance we showed was perfect. It is a big signal we are there waiting and fighting,” the former Southampton manager explained.
Tottenham have scored 13 goals and conceded just one in racking up 13 points out of the last possible 15.
Kane, who took his season’s tally to 27 goals, posted a social media image of a pack of lions closing in on their prey after Leicester had dropped two points against West Ham.
“It is a good thing because it shows how this group is, how our squad is,” said Pochettino.
“We can win or not, but the desire and passion we show and how we enjoy the game is fantastic.”
Kane opened the scoring at the Britannia Stadium with his 23rd league goal of the season, overtaking Leicester striker Jamie Vardy’s tally in the race for the league’s golden boot, and believes the Foxes can still be caught.
The in-form striker, 22, said: “We are not going anywhere. We scored four but could have had six or seven. It is one of our best performances all season but that’s what we can do.
“We are ready to put the pressure on Leicester. We think we can do it. Leicester are five points ahead but we have closed the gap, that’s all we could do.”
Stoke have now won only one of their last six games as their season runs out of momentum with their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Europa League almost gone.
Mark Hughes, the Stoke manager, paid tribute to Tottenham and believes they can win the title.
“We are disappointed with what we produced but Spurs were very impressive,” said Hughes. “They were stronger, faster and had more power in the team.”
“With their mentality, you wouldn’t bet against them catching Leicester,” added Hughes.
“On the night we were very much second-best. We need to pick ourselves up or it will be another difficult game against Manchester City on Saturday.”