By Coral Barry

Toby Alderweireld believes Mauricio Pochettino has got him working harder on the pitch than ever before.

The Belgian centre-back has been at the heart of the Premier League’s meanest back line this season alongside fellow country man, Jan Vertonghen.

Alderweireld’s formidable partnership with Vertonghen in defence has garnered high praise this campaign, but the 27-year-old has revealed his form is down Pochettino’s insistence that he, and the rest of the squad, are incredibly fit.

“Here, at Spurs, we also train pretty tactically,” said Alderweireld speaking to the London Evening Standard. “The manager prepares us for every single situation, but we are more a ball-playing team than Atletico.

“Pressing football, where everyone works for each other, from the striker to the goalkeeper. We are a hungry team, without real stars. I have never worked so hard in my life as under Pochettino.

“It’s the end of April and we have just finished two training sessions: one in the gym and one on the pitch.

“In the beginning you don’t always see the fun of all those sessions, but the rewards are there: I feel fitter than ever. Our results show that the manager been right.”

Tottenham face Chelsea in the London derby at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, but it could be a painful experience for the Spurs team if Leicester manage to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday and claim the Premier League title.

Second-placed Spurs are seven points behind the Foxes after picking up a draw in their last fixture against West Brom and will be praying for an unlikely Leicester slip-up right at the death in the final three league games.

In other Tottenham news, Thierry Henry has picked out three lazy Spurs players he believes have been transformed under Pochettino.