Mauricio Pochettino laughs off Claudio Ranieri’s ‘Tottenham title favourites’ tag

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has laughed off claims from Claudio Ranieri that Spurs are Premier League title favourites, and insisted Leicester are under just as much pressure in the race at the top.

Spurs sit two points behind league leaders Leicester ahead of two crunch London derbies, with a trip to West Ham to come on Wednesday before the grudge match on Saturday against Arsenal.

Ranieri has downplayed his side’s chances of being crowned champions and instead said it is Tottenham who should be considered odds-on to lift the trophy.

Pochettino was not convinced, though he did not agree with some pundits’ views of mind games from the Foxes boss.

“Mind games? No, it was a joke. I laughed a little bit,” Pochettino said.

“In football it is good to play a little bit like this too. Our objective at the end of last season was clear, to reduce the gap with the teams at the top.

“For me Leicester are at the top and they have the pressure too like all the teams below. We don’t feel that.

“Only for us it is important to keep our level, our fitness, our mentality and we’ll see what happens. It’s too soon to speak about the end of the season.”

West Ham are gunning for Champions League football themselves as they sit sixth, four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.

The Hammers will also be eager to put a dent in Tottenham’s title ambitions and Pochettino expects a hostile atmosphere in both his side’s next two matches.

“It is a very important game, a derby, and you cannot split the emotion from the game,” Pochettino said.

“It is not only a game. It is not only three points, it means a lot more than three points because every time you play a derby like West Ham or Arsenal it is more important for our supporters and we feel the same.”

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