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PRESS PREVIEW: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

16 April 2018

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Tottenham Hotspur celebrate scoring against Stoke City.

Alasdair Gold from Football.London gives us the lowdown on Tuesday evening’s visitors to the Amex Stadium.

Overall assessment of the campaign so far – top four place sealed?

They're not quite there yet but it's almost done. It's easy to look at the table and suggest Spurs haven't been as good as last year because they finished second - although they still could.

However, for Mauricio Pochettino to have got the team up there, on the verge of a third straight Champions League qualification despite the big disparity in money spent by Spurs compared to the rest of the top six, is some achievement.  

They've beaten Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea this season, ending the 28-year hoodoo at Stamford Bridge with the latter win - that's on top of a much better Champions League campaign this time around and progress to the FA Cup semi-final again. 

It's been a good season and the defeats have been few and far between, just the one in the Premier League in 2018, showing Spurs are becoming a much more consistent side.

Encouraging signs moving into the new stadium next season?

Definitely - the new stadium should help Pochettino take Tottenham to the next level with the added revenue it will bring. 

There could be a departure or two this summer, but both the chairman Daniel Levy and Pochettino maintain they will be players the manager is happy to let go. 

There's a buzz around Tottenham at the moment, especially with that enormous new stadium rapidly rising on the north London skyline and there's an eagerness to end the Wembley tenure and get back home.

Since mid-December they’ve only lost to Manchester City in the league – twice – what’s been their Achilles heel this season? 

They don't like teams that press them high up the pitch and take them on at their own game. City and Liverpool have proved to be Spurs' most difficult opponents because of their energy in closing them down in their own half.

Pochettino has improved Tottenham in dealing with teams that sit back. That was one of their weaknesses but the array of options Spurs now have up top gives them different ways of breaking teams down.

Close them down though in numbers and you've got half a chance. City and Liverpool have enjoyed success with that because they are probably the only two teams in the league able to match Spurs in the fitness stakes and keep it up for the entire 90 minutes.

Champions League progress was good and in semi-finals of FA Cup – about to shake off the ‘nearly men’ tag? 

It feels like it's coming. The FA Cup presents a great opportunity this year, but Tottenham will need to repeat their January performance against United at Wembley to reach that final.

A trophy would certainly validate what Pochettino is doing. The manager doesn't feel that way when it comes to the domestic cups - for him only the Premier League title or Champions League would do that.

However, for the media and the fans, it would remove many of the last remaining questions about the side and suggestions that players need to leave the club in order to win something.

Who’s more important to the success of the side – Christian Eriksen or Harry Kane? 

That's a nightmare question! They're both so important. Harry Kane of course scores so many goals, he's a machine, but Christian Eriksen makes this Tottenham team tick - he's their conductor and links all the lines together. 

While Kane is one of the world's top strikers now, I guess you could argue that without Eriksen, Spurs can struggle to find their rhythm and create chances, but without Kane, the team still scores goals - as they showed at Chelsea earlier this month. 

It would have to be the Dane then as crazy as that probably sounds when you see the huge number of goals Kane scores each season. Can't I just have both?!


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