Mauricio Pochettino believes it is too early to say whether Tottenham are Premier League title contenders.
Spurs have overcome adversity this season to be locked into the top four and they sit nine points behind Christmas leaders Liverpool ahead of their game in hand at Everton on Sunday.
They are enjoying their best Premier League start, but are fighting on other fronts with a Champions League knockout tie at Borussia Dortmund and a two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final with Chelsea to come in the new year.
Spurs’ squad is likely to be stretched and Pochettino, who is reportedly Manchester United’s number one target to permanently succeed Jose Mourinho, does not know whether his team will be able to continue challenging the Reds and Manchester City.
“Today it’s impossible to guess if we are going to have a chance to fight for the title,” he said. “I think the most important is the belief and fight to compete in every single game and be there.
“It’s important to be there until the end. Today there is still a lot of games to play and it’s so early in the season. We are still involved in all the competitions.
“The circumstance, a lot of things can happen. It’s still early to talk about if we are a candidate or not.
“We are in a good position, a position to give us a chance to fight for the title.
“In the same way, we are involved in all competitions and it will be tough.
“It’s not an excuse, but we need to go step-by-step and believe in our way and try to do the best we can.
“Man City and Liverpool are at the top, Liverpool and Manchester City, don’t take me wrong.
“They are the two big candidates to win the league. We are behind with some gap. Then there are Chelsea, Arsenal, and United.
“Of course there is still a long way until the end of the season. It is normal for people to consider Liverpool and Man City the two big candidates to win the Premier League.”
Their title credentials will come under scrutiny with a tough game at Goodison Park, kicking off a festive schedule which sees them have less rest than any other side in the division.
The Toffees are winless in their last four games, but Pochettino is wary.
He added: “Everton have a lot of quality players, a great squad, and Marco Silva’s doing a fantastic job. He’s a very good coach.
“Of course, it’s always important when you arrive at a new club, you need time.
“They are doing a good job and they have very good players. It will be tough to play Everton at Goodison Park.”