Mauricio Pochettino has warned his Tottenham players not to relax after last weekend’s historic 3-1 win at Chelsea, insisting Saturday’s match against Stoke will be tougher.
“It was fantastic in the moment that we achieved the victory and we celebrated of course,” Pochettino said.
“Then you focus on Stoke. That is going to be a very tough game. The key will be to prepare for a big battle, as they play to survive. Always it’s good to win a derby and it means a lot to our fans after 28 years to feel again the victory at Stamford Bridge. It was fantastic for everyone. But as a manager and players, there’s not too much time to spend enjoying the victory.
“That is very dangerous. If you spend too much time enjoying it, you’re not preparing for the next game.
“If you don’t keep pushing, it’s so difficult because sometimes after a great victory, as a human being, you can start to think: ‘If we beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, why not beat others?’ You drop a bit in your focus.
“For me, it must be the opposite — our focus must be 200 percent. For me, Stoke will be a tougher game than at Stamford Bridge. Football doesn’t exist in the past only in the present and if you don’t prepare yourself to compete again, you can struggle. That’s why we’re so focused on trying to match them in motivation and hunger.”
Pochettino’s side are four points behind second-place United and they trail Liverpool by two points with a game in hand.
“For us, the target now is to win [against Stoke] but of course we want to finish as high as possible,” Pochettino said.
“There are still a lot of games to play but yes one objective is to finish top four and to play Champions League next season which will be fantastic in our new stadium. Then of course if we finish second then better than third or fourth.”
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