Pochettino wants Spurs to spend to match his Premier League ambition

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Tottenham host Chelsea in the first leg of an EFL Cup semi-final on Tuesday but Mauricio Pochettino's priority remains the Premier League.

Pochettino wants Spurs to spend to match his Premier League ambition

Tottenham host Chelsea in the first leg of an EFL Cup semi-final on Tuesday but Mauricio Pochettino's priority remains the Premier League.

Mauricio Pochettino wants to win the Premier League with Tottenham but thinks his club need to "operate in a different way" in the transfer market.

Spurs are six points shy of Premier League leaders Liverpool after 21 games this term – a superb return that comes after not adding any first-team reinforcements during the close-season transfer window.

Similarly, no significant January additions are expected and Pochettino, who has been touted as a long-term successor to Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, suggests such a thrifty approach must be altered once Tottenham are settled in their new stadium.

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Speaking ahead of Tuesday's EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea at Wembley, he said: "I need to be honest, I want to win the Premier League. The players and Jesus [Perez, assistant manager] want to win the Premier League or Champions League or a trophy.

"But if we want to win titles we need to operate in a different way. At the moment we operate in the same way as we operated five years ago when we [Pochettino and his staff] arrived. Of course, maybe we can win some titles but it’s going to be a tough job because in that situation every club in the last five years was improving a lot.

"The other day I saw a stat about how teams were spending in Europe in the last 10 years 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 this 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 have been beaten at the semi-final stage of the FA Cup in each of the past two seasons and this month's showdown with Chelsea presents Pochettino's latest chance to add a major honour to a highly-regarded coaching resume.

But the former Espanyol and Southampton boss insists his brief of providing regular Champions League football for the new White Hart Lane remains the priority – one that is more than on track.

He added: "The most important thing that I accept that challenge when [Tottenham chairman] Daniel Levy called me to offer a contract here.

"He was clear, he said: 'Mauricio, you need to prepare and to help the club to arrive to the new stadium. When we finish the new stadium, in the first season at the new stadium, [we need] to have a team that can finish in the top four in the season after.'

"We are in advance, no? That is why sometimes I laugh when the people say we need to win a trophy. Look at the project – we are in advance.

"But we are so ambitious and we have the ambition to win. Of course, I want to win tomorrow. I want to win on Sunday [against Manchester United]. I want to win, yes of course. But we will see if we can do something important."

Pochettino indicated that second-choice goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga is set to start against Chelsea, having done so throughout the EFL Cup so far, but Brazilian forward Lucas Moura will miss out due to a knee injury he sustained during the 7-0 FA Cup win over Tranmere Rovers.

Midfielders Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama remain sidelined due to appendicitis and a knee complaint respectively, although Erik Lamela has shaken off a bout of illness.

Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele are back in training but the Chelsea showdown comes too soon for the Belgium international duo.

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