Mauricio Pochettino has dismissed the notion Tottenham Hotspur are the favourites to win the Premier League as the managerial mind games start to crank up approaching the business end of the season.
Second-placed Tottenham are chasing their first league title since 1961, while leaders Leicester City are seeking the first in their history, and the coaches of both sides appear to be trying to ease the pressure on their respective squads.
Leicester’s Claudio Ranieri said on Monday that Spurs were the favourites to become champions but Pochettino responded 24 hours later, saying he found the suggestion highly amusing.
“It was a joke, I laugh a little,” the Argentine told a news conference ahead of Wednesday’s visit to sixth-placed West Ham United.
“It’s clear we are in a very good position but there are still 11 games to play.”
According to a leading bookmaker, Leicester and Spurs are joint favourites to win the league following third-placed Arsenal’s 3-2 defeat at Manchester United on Sunday.
Pochettino said Spurs were the only side in the title race not feeling the heat.
“They (Leicester) are top and they have the pressure too like all the teams below,” the Argentine added. “But we don’t feel that, it is too soon to start to speak about the end of the season.”
Spurs follow up the match against West Ham with another London derby against bitter rivals Arsenal on Saturday.
“It’s not only three points, it means a lot more than three points because a derby against the likes of West Ham and Arsenal is more important for our supporters and we feel the same,” Pochettino said.
Spurs midfielder Dele Alli faces a late fitness test after picking up a knock against Swansea City at the weekend.