BOURNEMOUTH, United Kingdom, Oct 21 – Mauricio Pochettino is keen for his Tottenham Hotspur players to rise to the occasion and move to the top of the Premier League table on Saturday.
That may only be for a few hours but Spurs know that victory at Bournemouth in a lunchtime kick-off will be enough to lift them above current leaders Manchester City, who play on Sunday, and Arsenal, who are in action later on Saturday.
Spurs were title contenders for almost all of last season but never once reached the summit and eventually had to settle for third place.
Pochettino was eager, therefore, for his side — who are currently the only Premier League team yet to taste domestic defeat this term — to go one better.
“It’s a big motivation for us to finish the game and take the three points to be top of the table. Better motivation is impossible,” he said.
“Today the motivation was very good on the training ground. Our players are very conscious about that and it’s a good opportunity to see us at the top of the table. First of all we need to win the game.”
Pochettino is without defender Toby Alderweireld, who suffered a leg injury in last week’s 1-1 draw at West Brom, and striker Harry Kane, who stepping up his recovery from an ankle injury but is not yet near a playing return.
Left-back Danny Rose is also a doubt with a foot problem.
Spurs won 5-1 at Bournemouth last season but the Cherries will kick off on the back of a 6-1 thrashing of Hull City and Pochettino said he was a big fan of the south coast side’s manager Eddie Howe.
“The job he has done is unbelievable,” said Pochettino. “They show every week that they’re a team with principles, a team that knows what they need to do and how they need to play. For me he (Howe) is a fantastic coach and a coach I like a lot.”
Bournemouth defender Charlie Daniels began his career at north London club Tottenham and revealed he will have plenty of friends and family down to watch him — and cheer on the opposition.
“I was there for a good number of years when I was young and I still have a lot of friends there who are on the staff,” he said.
“I have a whole load of family and friends that are Spurs fans too, so they’re going to come down and enjoy the game. It’ll be a special occasion for them.
“Personally, it’s about doing a job and not only for me but for the team. We want to win and break their duck.
“We want to play a high tempo and a fast-attacking game, but I know Spurs will want to do that as well.
“Hopefully we don’t cancel each other out. It could be a bit end-to-end.”