London: Mauricio Pochettino wants his Tottenham stars to ignore speculation over their futures and focus on making a final push to win the Premier League.
Pochettino’s side face a critical week in the title race as they try to close the four-point gap on leaders Chelsea just days after suffering a painful FA Cup semi-final loss against their London rivals.
That 4-2 defeat to the Blues at Wembley hasn’t dampened interest in several of Tottenham’s key players as Europe’s top clubs plan their close-season spending sprees.
Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier are all reported targets, while former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has suggested Dele Alli is the type of player his old manager Pep Guardiola would like to sign for Manchester City.
Aware of the rumours surrounding his stars, Tottenham boss Pochettino told them to focus on tonight’s clash at Crystal Palace and enjoy what could still prove to be an unforgettable season for the north Londoners.
“In the next three to four weeks we must give our best, big efforts for all of us, for the players to try to focus, don’t think about holidays, rumours, what will happen next season,” said Pochettino, whose club last won the title in 1961.
“I cannot guarantee anything in life. The most important is to enjoy the present. In the future we take the best decision for the club.
“After three years you can see how the team is improving every year and all our decisions so far are good.
“Trust in the club that we will take the best decision for the club to achieve, to improve next season again.
“We care a lot about the club and now we must focus on the present to try to help the team and club to be there if Chelsea drop points.
“It will be special if in the last season at White Hart Lane we win the Premier League.”
Pochettino has yet to win a trophy in nearly three seasons with Tottenham.
But despite claims his players lack the killer instinct required to lift major silverware, the Argentine coach remains convinced they are mentally strong enough to break the trophy drought.
“I have no doubt,” Pochettino said. “It’s important to have memory. The first season we arrived we got 35 players and we started to rebuild the team during the season.
“We start to compete in the last two seasons. Last season we finished third, the best place in the Premier League for Tottenham, now we are second and fighting with the big sides with a completely different project.
“The mentality is fantastic – to win always. But when you compete with Chelsea, Man United, Man City, Liverpool – come on.
“The players deserve full credit and you should remove that idea because it’s not true. They are winners. Another thing is to win titles, but they are winners.”