Mauricio Pochettino has issued a rallying cry to Tottenham by telling his players Chelsea can still be caught in the Premier League title race.
Antonio Conte’s men remain in charge at the Premier League summit, but their 2-1 defeat at home to struggling Crystal Palace on Saturday has injected extra life into the battle at the top.
That loss coupled with Spurs’ 2-0 win over Burnley saw the gap cut to seven points with nine matches to play.
And Pochettino is trying to maintain as much optimism as possible to keep Spurs on their toes and ready to pounce should Chelsea slip again.
“It’s crazy but that is football and everything can happen,” he told a news conference ahead of tonight’s trip to Swansea City.
“That’s a good lesson for us all. Belief is the most important thing in football. Not quality, running or being strong but belief, faith and fight.
“Nothing is impossible in football and that is our idea, our philosophy. We need to keep going in that direction and it is true the Premier League is tough to play in, and to win every game and compete. It’s so competitive.
“But can it [catch Chelsea] happen? Yes, of course, it can happen and in our mind we must be positive to try to dream and give our best.
“If we are focused only on the next game and nothing after, and if we are positive, I think we can get the three points but first of all we need to play. We need to be better than Swansea and it’s sure we will need to fight a lot against them.”
If Spurs are to successfully usurp Chelsea, they will have to do it without talented midfielder Harry Winks, who Pochettino expects to miss the rest of the season with a twisted ankle.
The 21-year-old attempted to tackle Burnley’s Stephen Ward in Saturday’s game at Turf Moor and ended up falling into the hosts’ dugout.
Further scans are due to take place to fully understand the extent of the injury, but Pochettino does not think Winks has much hope of adding to his 21 Premier League appearances before the campaign finishes.
“We hope there is no big issue,” Pochettino said. “But it is true it will be difficult for him to play again this season.
“He twisted his ankle but we need to see what happened in his ankle on the scan.”
CAF CL: Why Akwa United Struggled Against CR Belouizdad
Coach Kennedy Boboye admitted that Akwa United failed in their bid to replace the players that left the club.
Boboye revealed this in his post match confe-rence after Akwa United kick-started their 2021-2022 CAF Champions League campaign with a 1-0 win over CR Belouizdad of Algeria on Sunday.
The Promise Keepers lost influential stars like Charles Atshimene and Olisa Ndah to CD Feirense of Portugal and Orlando Pirates of South Africa respectively earlier this month.
Recall that Ndah and Atshimene played key role in Akwa United’s NPFL title victory and Boboye admitted that the club was unable to bring in replacement.
He said: “This is what we have gotten. Most of the players we tried to get did not come.”
“We can’t stop players from travelling. It is unfortunate that we started the tournament very early.”
“We have not been able to play together for a long time. By the time we surpass this stage, we would be better than before,” he said.
Remo Stars To Appoint Ogunbote Head Coach
Nigeria Professional Football League New Boys, Remo Stars are on the verge of appointing Gbenga Ogunbote as their new coach.
Reports revealed that Remo Stars manage-ment will appoint the former Enyimba and Sunshine Stars boss to take over the reign from Daniel Ogunbodede who tutored the team last season.
Ogunbote was spot-ted with the Ikenne-based club during the just concluded NNL Super 8 in Enugu.
The club is set to announce the mana-gerial change in the coming days, but nothing has been heard, concerning the future of Daniel Ogunbodede.
Ogunbodede helped Remo Stars seal their return to the elite division after finishing second in NNL playoff in Group A.
CAFCL: Eguma Warns Players Against Complacency
Rivers United Coach, Stanley Eguma, has warned his players against comp-lacency ahead of their CAF Champions Lea-gue second leg prelimi-nary game against Young Africans.
The Pride of Rivers defeated the Tanzanian side 1-0 at the Benjamin Mkapa Nat-ional Stadium on Sunday.
Samuel Omodumuke scored the winning goal for the visitors in the 52nd minute to give the Eguma’s side advant-age of going to the next game.
The return leg will take place next week Sunday at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt.
Speaking ahead of the second meeting, Eguma hinted that his players need to forget about the first leg result and approach the second leg with all seriousness.
“They are a good side and have mobile players.
“We need to have the right mentality when we play them at home, we must not relent and fight as if we have not played the first leg.
“We must put in everything in the second leg, that is going to be our approach.”
“The players need to rise to the occasion to ensure that we seal the qualification,” he said.
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