Mauricio Pochettino has warned his Tottenham players that a top four finish is still not guaranteed.
Spurs are seven points ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea with just five games to play and have a much better goal difference, but Pochettino says they cannot take a place in next season’s Champions League for granted.
The Argentinean has seen his players blow up on the run-in of the last two seasons and has hammered home the message that they must keep going during their remaining games.
They lost 3-1 to title-bound Manchester City on Saturday and now face a gruelling week with a trip to relegation candidates Brighton on Tuesday, then an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United four days later.
Pochettino said: “In football, nothing is guaranteed. We still have to fight for fourth place. You can never say anything is done until it is finished.”
Reflecting on the City defeat, he added: “It wasn’t good. Now we need to recover and move on because it was only one bad game after 14 unbeaten.
“It’s important we try to ensure everyone is recovered properly. But there is only so much you can do so it will not be too different.
“All the players who were involved here are going to be involved either Tuesday or Saturday. But we need to rotate because we need to provide fresh legs.”
Pochettino admitted star man Harry Kane is a concern.
The striker was disappointing against City, and his manager believes it may be a hangover from an ankle injury layoff that ended surprisingly early at the start of this month.
“We need to assess him after his injury,” said Pochettino. “He has played a lot since then.
“But this defeat was not down to him, it was because of our first 20 minutes.”