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Time to get excited says Poch, as Spurs take three points out of Chelsea’s lead

Date Posted,April 2, 2017

Supermac – the political, rather than the footballing one – once famously told Britain, “most of our people have never had it so good”.

And 60 years on from Harold Macmillan, Mauricio Pochettino has delivered a similar upbeat state-of-the-nation address to Tottenham fans.

Spurs are second in the table on the back of their best Premier League campaign and through to the FA Cup semi-finals, prompting Pochettino to declare they couldn’t be in a better position.

After Saturday’s 2-0 win at Burnley, the Tottenham boss feels they are punching above their weight to be looking down on Manchester’s moneyed clubs, Arsenal and Liverpool.

He is excited about what the next eight weeks could yield for a club that’s had just a solitary League Cup success to celebrate since 1999.

Tottenham are well placed to end the club’s long wait for some silverware (Photo: Reuters)

“We don’t need anybody to push us to be excited because this moment we are living in now is exciting,” said the Argentinean. “It’s an exciting moment and we’re conscious about the situation.

“We’re playing for big things. We’re in the FA Cup semi-final and second in the table and I think a better position is impossible.

“This is our time to be excited and to give our best.”

Of course, Tottenham were in a strong position last season before finishing third in a two-horse race for the title.

This time there is no hint of a collapse and they showed huge character to breach fortress Turf Moor’s defences to make it 35 points from a possible 42.

They have moved to within seven points of Chelsea, who lost at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday, and the title race could become even more interesting on Wednesday with Antonio Conte’s side meeting Manchester City while Spurs face relegation-threatened Swansea.

Injury-hit Spurs made the breakthrough with a rare Eric Dier goal… (Photo: Getty)
…then substitute Heung-Min Son wrapped up the three points (Photo: Getty)

Spurs have also gone a seventh game this season unbeaten without their injured striking talisman Harry Kane.

Pochettino is proud of his players’ maturity and feels they have grown because of last season’s chastening experience.

“Always I tell the players we must show we have learned from last season and that we are clever and intelligent people,” he said. “Last season was a great experience for us. It was a tough experience, but it is something we need to think about every time and now give our best, keep our position and fight.

“I think reducing three points to Chelsea was important for us.”

While Pochettino is looking forward, skipper Hugo Lloris is more concerned about what is behind Spurs.

France’s captain and goalkeeper played down title talk, claiming his focus was on keeping ahead of the pursuing pack.

Keeping a clean sheet on Saturday was child’s play for Lloris… (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
…because Tottenham were so dominant… (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
…while he gave away his gloves, he is determined to hang onto second place (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)

“We don’t talk about the title because even seven points is a big gap at this stage of the season,” he said. “I prefer to look backwards and to look at what’s happening behind us because this is the final race. It’s a key moment of the season.”

Lloris was a virtual spectator on Saturday, because Tottenham stymied Burnley so well.

They took control after switching from a 3-4-2-1 formation to a flat back four because of first-half injuries to Victor Wanyama and Harry Winks.

Eric Dier moved forward into midfield from centre-half and opened the scoring just after the hour with his first Spurs goal since January 2016, before Heung-Min Son sealed victory 10 minutes later.

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