Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson says Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is to blame for the team’s poor recent form in the Premier League.

Spurs have competed for the Premier League title in each of the past two season, but recent results mean this season’s challenge is now all but over.

Pochettino is widely regarded as one of the best managers in the Premier League for what he has achieved with Spurs since taking charge in 2014, but Merson believes he is the reason behind the club’s poor recent form.

“I think Mauricio Pochettino started off their poor run to be honest, when he took Harry Kane and Dele Alli off against Arsenal, when the game was still in the balance,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“Their performances have been nowhere near as good since.”

Spurs have failed to win a Premier League game since the defeat to north London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium and have now lost three of their last six games in the league.

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They are now 18 points behind unbeaten leaders Manchester City in the Premier League table and face 13th-placed Stoke City in league action at Wembley on Saturday afternoon.

Spurs go into the game four points behind fourth-placed Liverpool in race to qualify for next season’s Champions League and Merson says they cannot afford to lose.

“Tottenham need to win this game, otherwise they will be struggling for the top four.”

However, the Sky Sports pundit believes Spurs have too much quality for Mark Hughes’ side and is predicting a comfortable 3-0 win for Pochettino’s team.

Spurs’ recent Premier League form has not affected their progress in this season’s Champions League. They beat Apoel Nicosia 3-0 at Wembley last night and qaulfied for the last-16 of the competition as Group H winners.

In other Tottenham news, the club are in a three-way transfer battle with Premier League rivals Manchester United for a multi-time Champions League winner, according to a report.

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