Tottenham v Swansea City: Pochettino eyes further momentum in title bid
Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino wants to build on the momentum from his team’s impressive win over Fiorentina in the Europa League when they face Swansea City at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Spurs defeated the Serie A side 3-0 in the second leg of their round-of-32 tie on Thursday to seal a 4-1 aggregate win and book a clash with Borussia Dortmund in the last 16.
They now return to Premier League action, sitting just two points behind leaders Leicester City after an impressive run of five straight league victories.
In the face of mounting expectations, Pochettino has insisted he continues to take a game-by-game approach to Tottenham’s campaign and will be confident of victory over struggling Swansea, who Spurs have beaten in seven of their last nine Premier League meetings, drawing the other two.
“I think it is important for us to keep the level and the performance that we showed against Fiorentina,” he said.
“It is true that the Premier League is a very tough competition – different to the FA Cup, Europa league or Capital One Cup - but we are ready to compete.
“I always explain that we need to be game by game and keep working hard. We need to feel very proud by how we have played this season.
“You never know the impact of going far in [the] Europa league. To guess the future is difficult – we will see but in the end we want to be competitive in all games and this is what we try to do.
“We have a plan for the future but the focus is always on the next game. We are happy in the way that we are. We need to make sure the players recover and feel good for the next game.”
Harry Kane, who has scored 15 goals in his last 17 Premier League appearances, will have his broken nose assessed before a decision is made on his status for the game.
Swansea, meanwhile, are 16th in the table, three points clear of the relegation zone and have only collected two points from their last three games. They now face successive away games against title-chasing Spurs and Arsenal.
Head coach Francesco Guidolin missed the pre-match media conference through illness, but assistant Alan Curtis stepped in and assured fans the Italian would be back for the match.
“We know it’s two really difficult games but it’s important we compete, we can’t give up in any of the games,” said Curtis.
“You can’t go into a game turning up for numbers, it’s important we try to get something out of it and the performance has to be right.
“If we can get a result it would be a massive boost before the games against Norwich, Bournemouth and Aston Villa, where those three games could easily define our season.
“We know that people have tipped us to go down but that’s nothing new. We were tipped to go down from when we were in the Championship and I think it’s only this year we were not.
“They are tipping us to go down but we certainly don’t think that in the camp. It’s actually preferable than being favourites and we are used to it.
“People would have written us off against Everton [in January] but we won there and the league has been a bit like that this season … teams have found results where you wouldn’t have expected.”
Key Opta stats:
- Swansea City have collected just 0.22 points per game on average in the Premier League against Tottenham; fewer than against any other opponent in the competition.
- Tottenham have recovered 14 points from losing positions in the Premier League; more than any other team in the division.
- Swansea have hit the woodwork more often than any other team in the Premier League this season (15).
- If Tottenham win this match, it will be their highest haul of points after 27 Premier League games, beating the 53 they had earned in 2011-12.
- Spurs have fired in more shots on target than any other team in the Premier League this season (170).
- Tottenham have only allowed 79 shots on target against them in 2015-16, fewer than any other team in the top flight.