23 Dec Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino backs Burnley to qualify for Champions League
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino believes weekend Premier League opponents Burnley can qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Seventh-place Spurs travel to Turf Moor on Saturday with Sean Dyche’s over-achieving Clarets a point and a place better off following their surprisingly strong first half of the season.
The in-form Lancashire club have flirted with the top four in recent weeks and Friday evening’s 3-3 draw between Arsenal and Liverpool means victory over Tottenham would move them above the Gunners and level on 35 points with Jurgen Klopp’s fourth-placed Reds.
While Pochettino accepts Burnley are outsiders for a place in Europe’s premier club competition, he feels anything is possible in football.
“Of course,” replied the Argentinian coach when asked if the Clarets could secure a top-four finish. “Look, two years ago, Leicester can win the Premier League and, in the end, they won the Premier League.
“In football, all can happen. And of course they are doing so well. It will be tough because they are competing with big sides and so are we, but in football, all can happen.”
Burnley have lost just two of their last nine games, taking 19 points from a possible 27.
While their impressive results have surprised many people in the game, Pochettino insists he is not one of them.
“They are so tough, such a physical team,” added Pochettino, who saw his side concede an injury-time equaliser when the clubs met at Wembley in August.
“They play simple but it’s difficult sometimes to play simple as well as they do.
“We need to be ready to fight because they are such athletic players, tough players and they manage the long ball so well with two or three strikers that are so big and the second ball.
“It doesn’t surprise me that they are doing so well because they have good quality.”