Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino believes his side are becoming victims of their own success.
Pochettino has masterminded a climb towards the top of the English game without the resources of Manchester City, Manchester United or Chelsea and has done so using young players, adopting an attractive style of football.
But the pressure to back that up with trophies is beginning to rise and Spurs were heavily criticised after their latest disappointment last week when they fell to an eighth successive FA Cup semi-final defeat.
Pochettino has not wavered off-message, that Spurs need more time, and says their approach will not change.
“The most important thing now is that project we need to keep pushing,” he said.
“And, of course, we are frustrated about bad results. But we cannot change because the club cannot change.
“It cannot go, ‘Okay that is the project in Tottenham and now we are going to do the same that Manchester United are doing now’. That is not a point to discuss.
“Tottenham needed when we arrived here to have a clear idea about discipline, rules, principles, a project to develop, to use young players, and that was how we created this project all together.
“Whether it is me or another, that is the right project to keep pushing, don’t be disappointed if we still don’t win a trophy, the expectation always is massive.
“We are victims of our own success because we are ahead in our project.
“I remind you that in my first meeting with (chairman) Daniel Levy and (owner) Joe Lewis, the target was to arrive in the new stadium in four years and to create a team to have the possibility to fight for the top four and the second year to play Champions League. We are victims of our success.
“I tried to explain this season, it’s not easy to accept to be close, nearly to touch and be disappointed. Again and disappointed, but that is normal. The easy thing to do is give up and say we need to change everything and blame this and that.
“No, keep going, pushing hard and with all the energy try again. That is the realistic project for Tottenham and it’s fantastic because we are different and we need to keep going.”
Pochettino raised eyebrows in the wake of the cup defeat to Manchester United by saying the project at Spurs will go on “with me or another”.
The Argentinian still has three years to run on his contract and was coy about whether a new deal is in the offing.
“Am I going to sign? It’s a question for Daniel,” he added.
“I am not (Arsene) Wenger or (Sir Alex) Ferguson who decides about their own future. I decide only about the starting XI in this football club. That is up to Daniel, does he want to offer or not?
“I am a person who is never going to ask to improve my salary or extend my contract or anything like this.”
Tottenham could go a long way to booking a third successive season of Champions League football when they host Watford tonight.
Danny Rose will be assessed but Harry Winks is out.
The Hornets travel to Wembley on a poor run of form - especially away from home. Boss Javi Gracia is likely to come under pressure in the summer if that run continues and the Spaniard will be keen to break his duck at the home of a manager he holds deep respect for.
“I know Pochettino,” he said.
“He played in Spain and then coached at Espanyol. I know his backroom staff also as I was with Jesus Perez in the same team.
“The level of Pochettino for me is high and Tottenham have shown this season and in the past, even though they have not won the Champions League or other competitions.
“But for me he is one of the best coaches I think at the moment.
“He is up there with (Arsene) Wenger and (Rafael) Benitez.
“They are important coaches and are very good.”
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