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Tottenham Can���t Be Lulled Into Complacency Against Chelsea

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Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino has warned his Tottenham players not to rest on their laurels after last weekend's historic 3-1 win at Chelsea, insisting Saturday's match against Stoke will be tougher.

Spurs won at Stamford Bridge for the first time in 28 years to move eight points ahead of the Blues in the battle for a place in the top four, but Pochettino is concerned about complacency ahead of the trip to Paul Lambert's relegation battlers.

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"It was fantastic in the moment that we achieved the victory and we celebrated of course," Pochettino said.

"Then you focus on Stoke. That is going to be a very tough game. The key will be to prepare for a big battle, as they play to survive. Always it's good to win a derby and it means a lot to our fans after 28 years to feel again the victory at Stamford Bridge. It was fantastic for everyone. But as a manager and players, there's not too much time to spend enjoying the victory.

"That is very dangerous. If you spend too much time enjoying it, you're not preparing for the next game.

"If you don't keep pushing, it's so difficult because sometimes after a great victory, as a human being, you can start to think: 'If we beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, why not beat others?' You drop a bit in your focus.

"For me, it must be the opposite -- our focus must be 200 percent. For me, Stoke will be a tougher game than at Stamford Bridge. Football doesn't exist in the past only in the present and if you don't prepare yourself to compete again, you can struggle. That's why we're so focused on trying to match them in motivation and hunger."

With Liverpool facing a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Saturday, four days after their dramatic 3-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League, and Manchester United hosting champions-elect City -- who can win the title with a victory at Old Trafford -- a Spurs win could see them gain ground on their top four rivals.

Pochettino's side are four points behind second-place United and they trail Liverpool by two points with a game in hand.

"For us, the target now is to win [against Stoke] but of course we want to finish as high as possible," Pochettino said.

"There are still a lot of games to play but yes one objective is to finish top four and to play Champions League next season which will be fantastic in our new stadium. Then of course if we finish second then better than third or fourth."

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Spurs' only absentee for the match at the Bet365 Stadium is Harry Winks, who is continuing to undergo treatment for an longstanding ankle problem.

The midfielder has not played since February and withdrew from the England under-21 squad last month after further complications with the injury he suffered against Crystal Palace back in November.

Asked if Winks would need surgery, Pochettino said: "We'll see what happens in the next few weeks but at the moment no. He's still doing his rehab and we'll see what happens. But at the moment it's not an option."

The Spurs manager's only significant selection dilemma is whether to recall Toby Alderweireld, who was left out of the 18 against Chelsea despite returning to full fitness.

Pochettino refused to be drawn on the Belgian's chances of playing but praised his replacement Davinson Sanchez, who has been nominated as PFA Young Player of the Year by City's Kevin de Bruyne.

"Davinson is doing fantastic from day one that he arrived here," Pochettino said. "But De Bruyne's opinion is his opinion. But of course he's young and he's showing great qualities and performances to help the team achieve what we want.

"Our expectation when we signed Davinson was he was a player with enormous potential who was, sure, going to help the team. But of course his adaptation to the team and the Premier League was I think much better than we expected, and we are happy because when we decided to him the club made a big effort, and now we're all happy to have him with us.

"I think he's humble. That is a massive point for every single player to learn, and to adapt yourself into the new environment. Of course he's a player that's young but he's always trying to improve and learn.


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Source : http://www.espn.co.uk/football/tottenham-hotspur/story/3444894/stoke-tougher-game-than-chelsea-tottenham-mauricio-pochettino

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