English Premiership

Pochettino's Spurs 'still fighting for title'

2017-04-02 20:36
Mauricio Pochettino (Gallo Images)

Burnley - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino insisted his side were "still fighting" for the Premier League title after a 2-0 win at Burnley on Saturday secured a "massive" three points.

Spurs' success at Turf Moor, with their goals scored by Eric Dier and Son Heung-Min, came as league leaders Chelsea suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace.

The results saw Spurs close to within seven points of London rivals Chelsea, with both sides having nine league games remaining this season.

Pochettino was delighted by his side's achievement in winning away to northwest side Burnley, the Argentinian boss saying: "It was difficult to play the way we normally play.

"It's a massive three points for us and we have to still believe and fight for the title," added Pochettino, bidding to see Spurs crowned champions of Englad for the first time since they did the 'Double' in the 1960/61 season, when they also lifted the FA Cup.

"We showed great belief and faith and character and that makes me very proud.

"I think the performance was great, not brilliant, very professional and this is a difficult place."

Without star striker Harry Kane -- injured in an FA Cup quarter-final win over Millwall last month -- Spurs looked to Dele Alli and Vincent Janssen to damage Burnley but both were quiet in a dull start to the match.

The first chance did not arrive until the 32nd minute when Alli somehow blazed over from just five yards out after Tom Heaton had parried a Christian Eriksen shot directly into his path.

The game remained uninspiring and Spurs were not helped by the loss of midfielders Victor Wanyama and Harry Winks -- the latter taken off on a stretcher after colliding firstly with Stephen Ward and then an icebox close to the Burnley dugout.

But the Clarets were unable to capitalise on those upheavals in a match that, nevertheless, remained goalless until the 66th minute.

Dier reacted quickest to a loose ball in the area following a corner to slam home and that goal gave Spurs the confidence to surge forward, with Son making the game safe in the 77th minute when, from six yards out, he got on the end of Alli's cross.

Former Southampton manager Pochettino added: "We knew very well how difficult Burnley have made it for other teams here so I give a lot of credit to my team.

"They battled for every ball -- we knew that Burnley are very direct and very physical, but we stopped them and then in the second half started using the ball."

This was Burnley's first home Premier League game since drawing with Chelsea 1-1 on February 12 but their return to Turf Moor did little to arrest their current slide and they have now not won since beating Leicester City at home on January 31.

Burnley's seven-match winless streak in the league has punctured some of the optimism around the club that they can survive the drop, but manager Sean Dyche remained upbeat and preferred to salute Spurs rather than slam his own side's display.

"It was a poor goal to give away and they got a lift after that as good players do," he said. "There was not a lot of difference between the teams until the goal.

"We are getting into good positions but trying to find that final ball is what we are trying to do."

Dyche added: "They (Tottenham) are second in the Premier League, by the way.

"We knew it was a tough run, we're not delusional, but we're in good shape so we look forward to the next game (against Stoke City on Tuesday)."

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Saturday, 19 August 2017
Swansea City v Manchester United, Liberty Stadium 13:30
Liverpool v Crystal Palace, Anfield 16:00
Leicester City v Brighton & Hove Albion, King Power Stadium 16:00
Southampton v West Ham United, St. Mary's Stadium 16:00
Burnley v West Bromwich Albion, Turf Moor 16:00
AFC Bournemouth v Watford, Vitality Stadium 16:00
Stoke City v Arsenal, Bet365 Stadium 18:30
Sunday, 20 August 2017
Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United, The John Smith's Stadium 14:30
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea, Wembley Stadium 17:00
Monday, 21 August 2017
Manchester City v Everton, Etihad Stadium 21:00
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