Mauricio Pochettino has said Tottenham will need to spend more on their squad if they want to win silverware.
Spurs have not won a trophy since 2008 and, although they face Chelsea in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semifinals on Tuesday, their manager feels greater investment will be needed if the north Londoners are to regularly beat their rivals to honours.
“Of course now after nearly five years the club is on another level than five years ago, but how we operate in four or five years didn’t change,” he told a news conference. “That is the point when sometimes people talk about winning titles.
“One thing is to reduce the gap with the top four, to be competitive, to create a team capable of fighting with the big sides. But if after we want to win titles we need to operate in a different way.
“Of course, maybe we can win some titles but it’s going to be a tough job to do because in that situation every club in the last five years was improving a lot. The other day I saw a stat, in the last 10 years in England and in Europe how the teams were spending money, and I think we were on the bottom, in England and Europe.
“Of course we’re doing a fantastic job but if we want to be real contenders we need to operate in a different way in the future.
“At the moment it’s fantastic — so far so good — but we’ll see if it’s enough to challenge and be consistent in the next five years operating in that way, if we’re capable to fight with the big sides in the same way that we’ve fought in the last four or five years.”
Spurs did not sign a single player in the summer and Pochettino is not anticipating new arrivals this month either.
“I think it’s not dependent on some players leaving,” he said. “It’s more about finding the right player who fits for us, not only in the football side but that is going to be a player that fits in all the areas.
“We know very well that summer is always difficult but winter is worse. Sure for us it’s going to be difficult to add players.
“I don’t expect to add players but of course if in the end we have the opportunity to add the right players we are going to try. I’m so happy with the squad that we have.”
Pochettino said extra competitiveness and aggression would be just as beneficial to his squad as new additions, and feels the heated battle with Chelsea in May 2016 was a good example of the mentality required to succeed.
Nine Spurs players were booked in the 2-2 draw — dubbed the Battle of the Bridge — and, although that result ended the north Londoners’ title challenge, Pochettino was pleased with his players’ fighting spirit that night.
“When you think of how we can improve our squad, it’s not only about adding quality players, it’s about being a bit naughty,” he said. “We’re a team everyone likes to watch over the last three or four years but we need to be a little bit naughty, smart in how we compete, and we still miss that.
“We have the opportunity now against Chelsea and in the next few months to show we’re capable of being more competitive than we were. We were very nice kids playing football and now we’re more mature, more competitive. We’ll see if that’s enough to win titles.
“We grew a lot in the last few years and this game was important to learn a lot. It doesn’t mean we’re going to win the Premier League or Champions League tomorrow but be sure we learned a lot from this game and are much better.”