Pochettino Admits ‘Reality’ Check For Struggling Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino takes a training session at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Centre, north London, on October 2, 2018, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Barcelona.
Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Tottenham’s alarming loss of form threatens to take the gloss off the long-anticipated opening of their flashy new stadium as they contemplate a season without Champions League football.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side stayed in touch with Liverpool and Manchester City for two-thirds of the season as recently as February 2, Spurs were in second place in the Premier League.

But they are now 16 points adrift of City and 18 behind Liverpool and a single point separates them from Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for the final two Champions League qualification spots.

“It’s a little bit of a shame that we’re not there fighting as well,” admitted Pochettino after Tottenham’s defeat at Liverpool on Sunday, courtesy of an own goal from Toby Alderweireld.

“We were but in the last few weeks we have started to find our reality, our place.”

READ ALSO: Liverpool Back On Top As Late Own Goal Secures 2-1 Win Over Tottenham

Despite their recent run of bad results, Spurs under Pochettino have punched above their weight, without a single signing in the past 15 months and a wage bill that amounts to a fraction of their top-six rivals.

Pochettino was keen to stress that point, calling his players “heroes” for coping with the demands of a stretched squad, which has had to cope with the impact of fatigue on eight World Cup semi-finalists, and the disruption of playing at Wembley while waiting for their new stadium to be ready.

“When someone wants to give an opinion about the team or the club, always you need to put in the circumstances. Not only to judge Tottenham because you see them play or their position in the table,” added Pochettino.

“After nearly two years of playing at Wembley. Moving from one stadium to another, now moving again. I think my players are heroes and deserve a lot of credit.”

Spurs will finally play their first match at their new 62,000-capacity ground against Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Champions League Riches

They are into the Champions League quarter-finals for just the third time in their history, where they will face Manchester City, with the new stadium designed to solidify their position among Europe’s elite and ensure they can compete financially in the future.

Much of that, though, depends on the revenue from the Champions League football they have become used to under Pochettino.

Despite a fourth defeat in five Premier League games, there were also green shoots of recovery for the Argentine to hold onto at Anfield.

But for Moussa Sissoko’s glaring miss five minutes from time and Hugo Lloris’s latest calamitous error in goal, Spurs should have become the first side to beat Liverpool on home soil for nearly two years in the Premier League.

Tottenham’s position in the battle for a top-four finish is now a precarious one. They could even find themselves down in fifth place by kick-off on Wednesday should Arsenal and Manchester United both avoid defeat in their games before then.

However, five of their remaining seven Premier League games will be at their new home and against meek opposition in Huddersfield, Brighton, West Ham and Everton after Palace’s visit.

“We need to forget everything and be focused that we have ahead a mini-league that starts on Wednesday in our new stadium and that must be a big boost for everyone,” added Pochettino.

“It’s in our hands to be in the top four.”

AFP

 

Premier League: Arsenal Finish Second As Tottenham Crash

Arsenal, Spurs, Premier LeagueA hat trick by Olivier Giroud ensured that Arsenal finished second, above London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

The Gunners defeated relegated Aston Villa 4-0 with three Giroud goals in the 5th, 79th and 80th minute capped by a Mark Bunn own goal in the 90th.

Tottenham went into the final match day of the 2015/16 season needing just a draw to finish second but Spurs who were title contenders a fortnight earlier collapsed 5-1 away to relegated Newcastle United.

The Gunners keep their bragging rights as they maintained the record of not finishing below Spurs in Premier League history.

Arsenal’s hat-trick hero Olivier Giroud said; “We were hoping to finish in top three but to finish second is very nice. We are really pleased to finish second and hopefully next year we can grab one more place.

“We wanted to start strongly, we knew it wouldn’t be easy and we thought Villa would fight, and they did well. But we were efficient up front and could have scored 3 or 4 more.”

Meanwhile, in other EPL final day matches, Champions Leicester City drew 1-1 at Chelsea as they win the title by 10 points.

Manchester City also finished in fourth place and secured Champions League football with a 1-1 draw away to Swansea.

Southampton defeated Crystal Palace 4-1 to move into fifth position but may be knocked out of it by Manchester United. Nevertheless, they have secured Europa League football for next season even if they end up in sixth.

West Ham have their ambition to play in Europe dented after losing away to Stoke City 2-1 courtesy a Mame Biram Diouf late strike.

Their fate is now solely dependent on the result of the FA Cup between Manchester United and Crystal Palace. If Man-U beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final a Europa League place filters down to seventh. If Palace win they are in the Europa League at the group stage.

Everton end the season on a high with 3-0 win against Norwich City, while West Brom and Liverpool played 1-1.

Man United’s final-day match against Bournemouth was called off on Sunday because of a suspect package found in the North West Quadrant of the ground.

Results

Chelsea 1-1 Leicester

Arsenal 4-0 Aston Villa

Watford 2-2 Sunderland

Swansea 1-1 Manchester City

Everton 3-0 Norwich

West Brom 1-1 Liverpool

Newcastle 5-1 Tottenham

Southampton 4 – 1 Crystal Palace

Stoke City 2 – 1 West Ham United

 

 

Leicester City Manager, Claudio Ranieri Honoured In Italy  

Claudio Ranieri, Leicester City Leicester City Manager, Claudio Ranieri, can add a personal award to the wonderful success he has engineered in inspiring the Foxes to their first ever league title this season.

Ranieri received the 2016 Enzo Bearzot Prize for Italian Coach of the Season, as well as the Golden Palm Award, a technical award for the best Italian manager.

The Bearzot Prize is awarded by the Association of Italian Christian Workers and by the Italian Soccer Federation and was created in honour of Enzo Bearzot, who led the national team to World Cup glory in 1982.

Earlier this week Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, said that he would propose awarding a top state honour to Ranieri.

Leicester City were officially decorated as Premier League champions for the first time in their history on Saturday after a 3-1 victory over Everton at the King Power Stadium.

Thousands of fans gathered at the King Power Stadium for their final home game to witness the historic event.

Leicester won the title in what has been described as one of the greatest sporting triumphs of all time, starting the season as 5000/1 outsiders.

Claudio Ranieri’s boys set a record to become the champions of England for the first time in 132 years.

The 64-year-old Italian spoke with pride after the feat. Speaking to the club website, he said, “I never expected this when I arrived. I’m a pragmatic man, I just wanted to win match after match and help my players to improve week after week.

“Never did I think too much about where it would take us.”

Leicester City Lift Premier League Trophy

Leicester cityLeicester City have been officially decorated as Premier League champions for the first time in their history.

They received the Premier League trophy on Saturday evening after a 3-1 victory over Everton at the King Power Stadium.

Thousands of fans gathered at the King Power Stadium for their final home game to witness the historic event.

Captain Wes Morgan and manager Claudio Ranieri lifted the trophy as the team celebrated.

The Foxes emerged champions without kicking a ball after Tottenham could only manage a 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

Spurs, the only title challenger left, had gone into the London derby needing an outright win to remain in the title race but a remarkable comeback from Chelsea saw them forfeiting a 2-goal lead.

Leicester City

Leicester won the title in what has been described as one of the greatest sporting triumphs of all time, starting the season as 5000/1 outsiders.

The 25kg Premier League trophy, topped by a golden crown, is decorated with blue ribbons for Leicester, and yellow ones to represent the royal house of Thailand, which is the country of club owners King Power.

It was engraved on Friday, in preparation for Saturday’s presentation.

Claudio Ranieri’s boys set a record to become the champions of England for the first time in 132 years.

The Premier League champions title parade will hold on Monday, May 16 – the day after their final match of the season at Chelsea.

Claudio Ranieri’s squad will travel on an open-top bus through the city before taking the stage at Victoria Park.

EPL Victory: I Never Expected This, Leicester City Boss Says

Claudio Ranieri-EPL-Leicester CityLeicester City manager, Claudio Ranieri, has expressed shock after his side emerged the winner of the English Premier League.

The Foxes were pronounced champions after Chelsea forced Tottenham Hotspur to a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.

The 64-year-old Italian spoke with pride after his boys set a record to became the champions of England for the first time in 132 years.

“I never expected this when I arrived. I’m a pragmatic man, I just wanted to win match after match and help my players to improve week after week.

“Never did I think too much about where it would take us,” he said on the club’s website.

Ranieri who commended the support of the fans and management of Leicester City, said that players’ determination made the feat possible.

“I’m so proud. I’m happy for my players, for the Chairman, for the staff at Leicester City, all our fans and the Leicester community.

“It’s an amazing feeling and I’m so happy for everyone.

“The players have been fantastic. Their focus, their determination (and) their spirit have made this possible,” he said while maintaining that they deserved to be champions.

Leicester City Are Premier League Champions As Tottenham Slip

leicester cityLeicester City are Premier League champions for the first time after Tottenham could only manage a 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Spurs had gone into the London derby needing an outright win to remain in the title race but a remarkable comeback from Chelsea saw them forfeiting a 2-goal lead.

Harry Kane had opened the scoring for the visitors in the 35th minute and Tottenham doubled their lead just before half time after a miscued pass from Ivanovic sent the ball straight to Kane, who spins quickly before finding Eriksen.

The Dane then pokes a lovely through-ball past Terry and straight to Son, who is completely unmarked just inside the penalty area and is able to slot a lovely shot past Begovic and into the back of the net.

A rejuvenated Chelsea resumed the second half and their efforts paid off in the 58th minute through Gary Cahill.

Costa battled down the right wing before forcing Alderweireld into poking the ball out for a corner. Willian curls a lovely cross from the set-piece right on to the foot of Cahill, who controls it well before sending a thumping strike past Lloris and into the back of the net.

Eden Hazard completed the comeback in the 83rd minute to send Stamford Bridge into ecstasy.

The visitors struggled to get a hold on the ball for the rest of the match as Chelsea held on for a draw that ensured that Leicester City are Premier League champions.

The result also means Chelsea maintain their record of having not lost to Tottenham Hotspurs at Stamford Bridge since 1990.

 

Mahrez, Vardy Dedicate PFA Awards To Teammates

Jarmie Vardy Riyad Mahrez PFA AwardsLeicester City players, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have dedicated their English football’s PFA awards to their teammates.

Mahrez, who is an Algerian, becomes the first African player to win a Professional Footballers Association (PFA) players award.

The Leicester City winger beat teammate, Vardy, Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Arsenal midfielder, Mesut Ozil to clinch the award.

Scoring 17 goals with 11 assists, Mahrez has been one of the main reasons behind Leicester’s phenomenal rise to the top of the English Premier League, sitting eight points clear with three games remaining.

Vardy, who has 22 goals for the league leaders was also honoured by the PFA for becoming the first player to score in 11 consecutive premier league matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile, Leicester City fans in Thailand are confident the team would lift their first league title this season.

Hundreds of blue-shirted Thai fans watched the league leaders’ 4-0 win over Swansea City on live screens in Bangkok.

The fans believed it was time to do the unthinkable in their club history.

Riyad Mahrez Wins PFA Player Of The Year

Riyad MahrezLeicester City attacking midfielder, Riyad Mahrez, has won the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award.

The Algerian has scored 17 goals with 11 assists in the Premier League this season and has been a key force behind the Foxes’ unheralded title challenge.

Mahrez was voted by fellow professionals ahead of fellow nominees and team-mates Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante, along with Harry Kane, Mesut Ozil and Dimitri Payet.

Mahrez becomes the first African player to bag the prize. He said, “Its a pleasure to achieve this award.

“I want to thank my team mates because without them I wouldn’t achieve this.

“We are like brothers, it’s everywhere on the pitch. That’s our strength.

“If sometimes we are not good, we know we are going to run and make effort for our team-mates. That is the secret of our success.

Tottenham midfielder, Dele Alli picked up the PFA Young Player of Year award in his debut season in the Premier League.

The England youngster came out on top ahead of team-mate Harry Kane, Jack Butland, Philippe Coutinho, Romelu Lukaka and Ross Barkley.

Alli has scored 10 goals in 32 top-flight games to help Spurs challenge Leicester for the title. He has also made six senior appearances for England, scoring in a 2-0 friendly win over France in November 2015.

With a crucial game on Monday night, Alli could not attend the event to receive his award but former Spurs player and manager Ossie Ardiles collected the prize on his behalf.

Leicester City Edge Closer To Premier League Title

Premier LeagueLeicester City on Sunday evening won their fifth match in succession to go a step closer to winning the Premier League title.

Jamie Vardy scored twice against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Three wins from their last five games will guarantee Leicester their first ever top-flight title, while Sunderland remain four points from safety.

Tottenham Hotspurs kept their challenge alive with an impressive victory over Manchester United later in the day.

Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela struck in six second-half minutes as they beat the Red Devils 3-0 to keep Premier League leaders Leicester City in sight.

Liverpool also beat Stoke City 4 goals to one.

Earlier, on Saturday, Andy Carroll’s hat-trick dealt another blow to Arsenal’s already slim title hopes, despite the gunners fighting back to draw 3-3 at West Ham.

Aston Villa are on the verge of being relegated after a home defeat by Bournemouth – their eighth in a row – left them 15 points from safety with five games left.

Crystal Palace ended their long wait for a first Premier League win of 2016 as Jason Puncheon’s goal earned them a vital 1-0 win over Norwich.

Southampton eased to a comfortable 3-1 win over Newcastle who edge closer to relegation.

Swansea City claimed an impressive first win against Chelsea to secure their top-flight survival.

Watford ended a four-match losing run by coming from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against Everton.

Manchester City also came back from a goal down to beat Westbrom 2-1.

Arsenal Showed An Outstanding Spirit Against Spurs – Wenger

ArsenalArsène Wenger has praised his Arsenal team’s “outstanding performance, attitude and resolute spirit” in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Tottenham Hotspur.

Alexis Sanchez’ 76th-minute leveller ensured a point for 10-man Arsenal in a typically high octane North London derby.

Aaron Ramsey had given the Gunners the lead but Francis Coquelin’s red card and subsequent Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane goals had threatened to consign the Gunners to a fourth straight defeat before Alexis’ equaliser.

“We’ve shown an outstanding performance, attitude and resolute spirit,” Wenger told Arsenal Player.

“Our spirit was questioned, our attitude was questioned and I think we gave the right response, which was not easy today.

“We have been questioned to the extreme because from being 1-0 up and feeling comfortable in the game, we were suddenly 2-1 down and down to 10 men. We came back to 2-2 and in the end I think we could have won 3-2.

“That’s the regret of the day but overall I’m very proud of the players and of their performance.

“The team needs to take encouragement from today and reproduce that kind of attitude in every single game.”

Tottenham Sign Atletico Madrid Star Toby Alderweireld

Tottenham Sign Atletico Madrid Star Toby Alderweireld Tottenham Hotspur have signed Atletico Madrid’s star, Toby Alderweireld, for a transfer fee of about £11.5m.

It was understood that the Spurs signed the 26-year-old on a five-year deal.

The Belgium-born defender will move to White Hart Lane, after spending last season on loan at English Premier League rivals Southampton.

However, Southampton were interested in signing the former Ajax star, but Tottenham had stolen a march on their rivals and landed the stopper.