Tottenham Hotspur’s progression from top-four dreamers to doers is so very apparent when you look at the current Premier League table and see they need just nine points (from their final five games) to clinch a Champions League place for the third straight season.
And yet, it’s games like Saturday’s 3-1 humbling at the hands of PL champions-elect Man City which remind the lilywhite faithful, and more importantly manager Mauricio Pochettino, just how far they still have to go in order to challenge for that particular trophy. After the game, Pochettino was particularly pensive when considering the gulf in class between the two sides on Saturday.
He could have taken the easy way out, when asked after the game about Jon Moss’s blatantly incorrect decision to award City a penalty during the first half, but insisted that now single moment impacted the game so much as City were simply the better side from first to last whistles — quotes from the BBC:
“I am not going to complain about the penalty. I think that many things happen during a lot of games, sometimes it is for you and sometimes not.
“In the end, if we analyze the game, they fully deserve the victory. We struggled to start in the game. When we conceded the penalty, we started to play.
“For sure they are going to win the PL but I’m disappointed because we didn’t compete in the first 25 minutes. In football you always want to compete and win. We feel that we are close but it is not enough.
“Of course, when you are calm and relaxed, you think in the last few seasons we are improving. But we still need to improve to reach the last level which is the most difficult thing.”
Pochettino, of course, was quick to remind everyone attending his post-game press conference — just as he’ll surely have reminded his players in the locker room and repeatedly again over the coming weeks — that there’s still a piece of important silverware to be won: the FA Cup.