Mauricio Pochettino urges his team to be more aggressive and confident when they square off against table-toppers Chelsea on Thursday morning. Tottenham Hotspur have strung together series of solid performances of late, coming in with four wins on the bounce, scoring 13 goals and conceding only three despite missing some key defenders in the process.
Thanks to their 4-1 triumph over Watford on New Year’s Day, the north Londoners have usurped Manchester City for the vital fourth place in the league table. Dele Alli and Harry Kane both bagged a brace each and the visitors could have had more at Vicarage Road.
Despite huffing and puffing to hit consistency since mid of October until their last defeat at Old Trafford, Spurs have apparently been better off than last season at the same stage. They collected 35 points from 19 games with 33 goals scored and 15 conceded, while this time around, they have snatched 39 points from a similar number of matches and notched 37 goals and conceded 1 goal fewer. Besides that, they have been defeated only twice this campaign, against Chelsea and Manchester United, both being away from home.
However, Spurs are 10 points adrift of Chelsea and the manager highlights how difficult the encounter against Antonio Conte’s side would be.
“Chelsea are in an unbelievable situation,” said the Argentinean.
“It’s going to be tough for both teams but we play at White Hart Lane and need to be aggressive.
“We will be very confident and will try to show we are better than them.”
Kane too offered his two cents ahead of the mouth-watering London derby.
“We’re excited. It’s a massive game,” the in-form striker told Tottenham’s website.
“It will be a great atmosphere.
“We have to be focused and make sure we put in a good performance. We have reached halfway and are in good shape.
“We know we can beat them.”
In terms of tactical approach, both teams don’t allow their opponents to rest on the ball and comprise a compendium of stars to make a difference. Despite scoring an avalanche of goals, both London rivals are reaping up reputations predominantly from their defensive lines. Thus it might all go down to which team could shrug off waves of attack more efficiently.
Speaking of aggression, the chief from Chelsea would be Diego Costa, who habitually has a penchant to harry opposing defenders and is a player who is not daunted by the magnitude of a game. The Spaniard has already racked up 14 goals and laid on 5 assists to his name. Also, if too much attention is deposited onto the former Atletico Madrid forward, it would be a hindrance as goals can come from anywhere for Conte’s men. Pochettino will have his much-favoured backline against Chelsea and expect them to strain every sinew to ensure the route to Hugo Lloris’ goal is slammed shut.
The visitors, on the other hand, are on a cracking run of form with 13 wins on the trot and will look to overtake Arsenal’s consecutive win record. With home ground advantage and sheer hunger to remain in the top four, the Lilywhites will be looking to put Chelsea off their stride. Both sides need to be on the front foot as soon as the first whistle is blown because they could be starved of possession as the managers share a similar brand of football.