Pochettino aims another barb at Conte as Tottenham-Chelsea war ramped up
By Harry Sykes
Mauricio Pochettino insisted that Chelsea will be shattered if they fail to go on and win the Premier League this season.
Tottenham manager Pochettino and his Stamford Bridge counterpart Antonio Conte have exchanged barbs this week as the two clubs remain the only viable title contenders.
In the latest exchange of mind games on Friday, the Spurs boss used his media briefing to aim to heap some pressure on Chelsea by making it clear the long-time leaders have everything to lose.
“If they don’t win the league it will be tough for them to accept,” said Pochettino of Chelsea, as quoted by the personal Twitter account of Mirror journalist Darren Lewis.
— Darren Lewis (@MirrorDarren) April 7, 2017
It was the second time in a few days that Pochettino had aimed a dig at Conte after the Chelsea boss had a thinly-veiled dig on Tuesday about the north London club’s place in the pecking order of elite clubs.
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The Italian suggested there is not the same pressure at Tottenham as at Chelsea as he pointed out the differences in expectations between the two clubs.
Pochettino dismissed such claims as having little relevance in the title race and that the only thing that matters is that Spurs are continuing to make Chelsea look over their shoulders.
Conte’s side bounced back from their shock weekend defeat to Crystal Palace with a landmark 2-1 Premier League win against Manchester City on Wednesday night.
Tottenham ensured that the gap between first and second did not extend beyond seven points by scoring three goals past the 88-minute mark to secure a stunning 3-1 comeback victory at Swansea on the same evening.
Spurs have not won the title since 1961, while Chelsea are hot favourites to lift the Premier League trophy for the fifth time of the Roman Abramovich era.
Conte’s side have accumulated 72 points from 30 league matches, putting them seven points adrift of Tottenham in second.
Spurs host Watford in a lunchtime Premier League clash at White Hart Lane on Saturday, while Chelsea visit Bournemouth on the same day.
Pochettino’s side will briefly narrow the gap to four points if they secure a sixth consecutive win against Walter Mazzarri’s injury-ravaged team.
That could pile the pressure on Chelsea, whose fixture at the Vitality Stadium is a 5.30pm kick-off.
In other Tottenham news, the London giants have won the race to sign a 32-goal striker who has taken the league by storm.