LONDON — Being four points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea isn’t enough for Mauricio Pochettino.
He wants more. He always seems to want more.
[ MORE: Spurs hammer Bournemouth ]
With his side 2-0 up in the first half on Saturday in their eventual 4-0 win against Bournemouth, Pochettino was bellowing instructions from the sidelines and was left infuriated whenever his team missed a tackle or a pass.
That didn’t happen often but whenever it did the Argentine boss let his players know about it. He’s a tough man to impress.
Pochettino demands perfection and explained his irritation when asked post-game.
“You should be focused on the game, not on myself,” Pochettino laughed. “I saw some signs, some details you are maybe disappointed with and when you are involved, sometimes you are more than other games. I think three points was a must win because we want to put pressure on our opponents. Our idea was to translate to the players that emotion that nothing is enough. To always play better, be very concentrated and very focused on the game. I don’t remember for what, but sometimes I was a little disappointed.”
That fact that Pochettino was, at times, upset with a dominant display from start to finish says it all. His team are on top form.
Spurs broke records on Saturday, winning a seventh-straight PL game for the first time and also winning 15 home games for the first time in a single season as they’re unbeaten in 17 home games in the league at White Hart Lane.
They’ve done their job in each of the past two weekends, securing back-to-back 4-0 wins in the early games to pile the pressure on Chelsea. With their London rivals heading to Manchester United on Sunday, Pochettino knows his team could be right back in this title race.
“Our job is to get three points and we got the three points. Now the pressure is on Chelsea to win at Old Trafford and I’m sure that tomorrow will be a very tough game for them,” Pochettino said. “There are still a lot of games to play. It would be fantastic tomorrow night, after the game, if we keep the gap to four points.”
Pochettino believes Chelsea are “still the favorites” to win the Premier League but compared to the fanfare they were up against last season as they crumbled late on in the campaign and the world wanted Leicester to win the title, this challenges seems easier to overcome.
Pro Soccer Talk asked Pochettino if playing earlier than Chelsea in recent weeks has been a big bonus for his team and he revealed just how tough last season was mentally to overcome the euphoria surrounding Leicester.
“If you win, like today, it is a big thing for us to put pressure on our opponent. Last season we never had the possibility to play before Leicester,” Pochettino said. “It was good, if you hear before the Palace v Arsenal game, Claudio Ranieri recognized the world was for us, trying to help Leicester. Maybe last season when I told you that, maybe you said ‘this guy is a little bit crazy’ no?
“But now that you hear from him, now I think you can be put in my position and the players’ position that it was so, so difficult because the team that all the world tried to kill was Tottenham. Impossible to understand why, but it was very good to hear from Claudio Ranieri that comment because it means a lot. It was fully deserved for Leicester but now I think you understand more our behavior and Chelsea again, I don’t know. Now you recognize the situation that was so, so difficult for us.”
Still, with the gap to Chelsea four points and goal difference a potential tiebreaker, Pochettino is, as always, demanding more from his players as he builds a winning mentality at Tottenham.
“The only way to build that winning mentality is always playing with the same tempo, focus and concentration during 90-95 minutes. Never give up,” Pochettino said. “1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 4-0… the team must forget the result to always try to go forward and score goals. That is the mentality we are building.”