Mauricio Pochettino believes it is unfair that Tottenham are compared to the heavyweights of the English game given footage of their last title-winning team is in black and white.
Pochettino has moved Spurs towards the upper echelons of the game in recent years – they are now Champions League regulars – but still receives criticism for not yet delivering trophies.
Despite their quick rise over the last four years and spending far less than any of their top-six rivals they are still judged against Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.
On a tough night your support throughout was fantastic once again, thank you.January 25, 2019
They have come under more scrutiny after suffering another semi-final defeat this week, as they went out of the Carabao Cup to Chelsea after a penalty shootout loss.
An animated Pochettino, who admitted he had little sleep after the Stamford Bridge loss, referenced the club’s pre-match video, which shows footage of Bill Nicholson leading Spurs to the 1960-61 league title and insisted his club are not comparable to the others.
“Tottenham, with no history of winning… our glory, I watch the video about the glory, it’s with (Bill) Nicholson. It’s black and white,” he said.
“And I watch it nearly every week and to create again that feeling you need time. Four years, five years, that’s nothing in the history of the club.
“Sometimes we forget where we came from four and a half years ago. That is the first mistake people make.
“Tottenham will be in the same level as Manchester united, Manchester City, this type of club, Chelsea. In the future, I hope, yes. But we sometimes forget from where we came.
“Four and a half years ago, when we arrived here the people begged to be competitive. Begged to have the possibility, in five years, once to be in the Champions League, to attract good players.
“Be regular competing in the cups in the semi-finals. If you looked at the record of the last four and a half years, we always when we lose, lose against big teams. Semi-finals, finals, and I think we were regular in the top four, in some seasons we were contenders – in a different way that the teams that we are talking about.
“And that is completely unfair, to charge the club like you are going to charge Manchester City, Liverpool or Chelsea.
“In the last 10 years who was the team that won the most titles? Chelsea, no? And after losing on penalties what are we going to say? Only to describe that Tottenham was so competitive, Chelsea was so competitive. It’s not changed the reality.”
Pochettino also believes the club’s move to Wembley has gone unnoticed in terms of the effect it has had on Spurs.
They went unbeaten in all 19 Premier League games at White Hart Lane in their final season there in 2016-17 before having to decamp to the national stadium while their still-unfinished new home was built.
He added: “At the moment the team needed the last push, what happened in this process, in this club, with this generation of player? We build, we build, we build but then White Hart Lane gone, we moved to Wembley.
“All the doubts about how we are going to behave, the example of West Ham’s first season and many things in this process that stopped the evolution of the team about to win. But no one say nothing.
“Remember, we were unbeaten, 19 games in the Premier League, at White Hart Lane in our last season there. And no one say what it means to move to Wembley to play and create another project.
“But not only this, but we are going to play only one season and then it’s nearly two seasons and no one says nothing.
“When Arsenal moved after playing in Highbury, people talked about massive problems, they’re still paying.”
Pochettino has a firm belief that his club are heading in the right direction and that they are still over-achieving.
He also pointed out how, rather than extra time or Spurs win on away goals, Thursday’s game went straight to penalties.
“The most important (thing) is to be there,” he said. “And if you lose 3-0, 4-0 last night and in the first leg you lose 3-0 or 4-0, you say, ‘Eh, come on, impossible’.
“We are close, we are close. With Harry Kane, we are close, with Fernando [Llorente], we are close.
“Thursday was a completely different team to the game that we played in the first leg, and we were competitive and 2-2 in the end.
“In Spain, you go through to the final but because this season – unlucky, another thing again – we change the rules in the Carabao Cup and go to the penalties. And no one say nothing.
“But of course I feel so good, I am so happy because what the club expects from me, I think we achieve more than what the club expect.
“I want to win but to win is to be patient, it’s to build, it’s to feel the support, it’s to keep going, it’s to believe and when some disappointments happen, like last night, now, stick more with your principles, stick more with your conviction. That is the most important.”
- Press Association