Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says the winning a domestic trophy will not help Spurs reach the “last level” after seeing his team knocked out of a second domestic cup competition in four days.
A side sporting seven changes from the Carabao Cup semi-final defeat by Chelsea on Thursday was knocked out of the FA Cup 2-0 at the hands of Crystal Palace, leaving Spurs, wounded by fatigue and injury, to concentrate on their Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund and, realistically, a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Pochettino, who has yet to win a trophy in his managerial career, admitted disappointment at this rather meek defeat but suggested trophies would not maintain Spurs’ development as a club.
“We are going to create a debate that to win a trophy is going to help the club,” he said. “I don’t agree with that. That only builds your ego. In reality the most important thing is being consistently in the top four and playing in the Champions League. That is going to help the club to achieve the last step.
“The club is doing fantastically well. It’s so successful. In the last four or five years we’ve been fighting in different ways to achieve what the club needs, to be in the level of Chelsea, United, City, Arsenal or Liverpool. People wish we could win some trophies. But, being realistic, we are a team not built to win titles still.”
Pochettino should have Son Heung-min, back from the Asia Cup, available for Wednesday’s game against Watford at Wembley.
“It’s true, this season has been tough,” he said.
“But to be a contender is always difficult for us. Now the realistic targets are trying to be in the top four, to try and be close to Manchester City and Liverpool and reduce the gap. Another is to try to beat Dortmund and be in the next round.
“That will be tough. We are competing against a team who are doing fantastically well in Germany, who are top of the table and have come back off their [mid-season] holidays. They are all fresh and we are the opposite. But we have to be positive. We are still in two competitions, in a good position in the Premier League and the Champions League, which is a massive motivation for the club. We have to be strong.”
When Arsene Wenger said that finishing in the top four was like winning a trophy, he was soundly criticized by the press.
But media darling Pochettino is not facing the same type of heat for his comments, despite angling himself to take over at Manchester United or Real Madrid at the end of the season. Two clubs where winning trophies is the only measure of success.