Pochettino keen to end Blues hoodoo

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Published: Thursday 1st January 2015 by The News Editor

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Mauricio Pochettino hopes to change the mindset of his players with Tottenham perceived by many to be under a Chelsea spell.

Spurs lost 3-0 to their London rivals on December 3 at Stamford Bridge – a venue where their most recent win came in February 1990.

And Pochettino’s side are in the midst of a 10-match winless run against the Blues, whose last defeat to Spurs was at White Hart Lane in April 2010.

“We need to try to change (that),” Pochettino said. “Maybe it is a moment, but we need to fight to win on January 1.

“For the fans it is very important to win but we need to play and do our jobs.

“Chelsea is a very good team but I think it would be very great for the fans to get three points.

“We need to believe. We are in a different moment. We have grown and learned from that game and our organisation and mentality and physical condition.”

Pochettino will hope his fighting instruction is not taken literally.

Spurs defender Federico Fazio punched Chelsea striker Diego Costa in the stomach during an altercation when the pair were at Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, respectively.

Pochettino laughed off that incident – “We need to ask them,” he said – but knows his side must last the distance against Chelsea.

Spurs, whose side drew 0-0 with Manchester United on Sunday, were on top for much of the opening 20 minutes of the clash four weeks ago, but, once Eden Hazard had broken the deadlock, Didier Drogba added a quick-fire second, effectively ending the contest.

Pochettino added: “We started very well and we had chances in the first 20 minutes. We didn’t score, and, after we conceded, we lost the game.”

The Argentinian, who took over last summer after leaving Southampton, believes Spurs are more settled now, with time needed for him to exert his influence.

He said: “As always you need time to settle your philosophy, and maybe it is difficult to take time in football but this is the reality.

“Our job is not allowed time, (but) time is important for us when you want to change direction.

“We are very happy now with the players and squad and you always can improve. So far we are happy.

“We need to show the same character and spirit (as against United).

“In the past one or two months we have improved a lot in this area and I think we are happy.”

Pochettino remembers Blues boss Jose Mourinho well from his playing days at Espanyol, when the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ was cutting his coaching teeth at Catalan rivals Barcelona.

“I remember always Mourinho. He was a big figure and all the players have a very good memory of him,” said Pochettino, who declined to reveal any particular stories from their shared past.

“(And) we played a lot of times against Real Madrid when I was at Espanyol. We had a good relationship.”

In management, at Espanyol and Real Madrid, Mourinho got the better of Pochettino, who says he was “unlucky”, but it is hardly surprising given the stark contrast in resources the two men had at the time.

Spurs are bidding to join Chelsea among Europe’s elite this season, but Pochettino places no particular emphasis on the man in the opposing dugout on Thursday evening.

He said: “I enjoy every game – it is not important the opponent.

“Maybe I will enjoy if we get the three points but it is not because it is Chelsea, who are at this moment in front.

“It is a good thing to meet with him as he is a good friend but it is nothing special.”

Published: Thursday 1st January 2015 by The News Editor

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