London – Mauricio Pochettino says his Spurs side need to be more ruthless if they are to turn their progress under the Argentine into silverware.
Tottenham host Chelsea in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final at Wembley on Tuesday, hoping to take another step closer to ending an 11-year wait to win a trophy.
“If you want to win titles and be consistent, not only do you need to play well with quality but being competitive is about being tough in some games,” said Pochettino on Monday.
“We are a team everyone likes to watch over the last three or four years but we need to be a little bit naughty, smart in how we compete and we still miss that. We have the opportunity now against Chelsea and in the next few months to show we’re capable of being more competitive than we were.”
Pochettino’s men are still involved in four competitions despite not making a single summer signing, but the coach preferred to focus on how his current squad can continue to improve rather than seeking new faces when asked about the January transfer window.
“When you think of how we can improve our squad, it’s not only about adding quality players, it’s about being a bit naughty,” said Pochettino.
Pochettino’s ability to succeed despite a barrage of problems — including the delay to the opening of their new stadium — that could have derailed their season has seen him strongly linked with taking over at Manchester United or Real Madrid next season.
And despite the clamour to win a trophy, he maintains his legacy will have been to deliver the club into the new stadium, while maintaining a competitive side and Champions League football on the pitch like former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger did during the Gunners’ transition from Highbury to the Emirates.
“We are in Tottenham in a project that today is not only win,” he said.
“It is about to build the new stadium … that it is a project that is going to be a massive legacy for the club, for the fans, for the players in the future, for the new coaching staff, manager.”
However, Pochettino warned that Spurs progress is unlikely to continue at the same pace unless they start to compete with the spending power of United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.
“The other day I saw a stat that in the last 10 years in England and in Europe how the teams were spending money, and I think we were on the bottom, in England and Europe,” he added.
“Of course we’re doing a fantastic job but if we want to be real contenders we need to operate in a different way in the future.”