Tottenham Hotspur may only be sixth favourites for the Premier League title with some bookmakers, but Jermaine Jenas believes the presence of Mauricio Pochettino could provide a crucial advantage over many of their rivals.
The summer appointments of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte at Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have taken the headlines ahead of the new Premier League season, but Jenas thinks that all three could be playing catch-up compared to Spurs.
Pochettino has been at the helm at White Hart Lane for two years and lifted Tottenham into title contention last term, with Vincent Janssen and Victor Wanyama added to the squad this summer.
“I think they’ll be in the top three," Jenas said of his former club after being confirmed as one of BT Sport’s pundits for the new season. “It’s going to be one of the most competitive Premier Leagues there's ever been but teams like Man United, Chelsea and Man City are starting from behind.
“I think City are favourites to win it but these managers have got to implement their style and the way that they play quickly, whereas Pochettino's had a couple of seasons working with his players, shaping and moulding the team into what he wants. He’s not really panicking in the market, he’s done a bit of early business by bringing in Janssen and Wanyama - two good bits of business to bolster the squad.
“But the fact that he has his style of play, the players know how he wants to play - they’ve been doing it and can just revert straight back to it - automatically gives them an edge. That’s why I think they’ll get off to a good start and why I think they’ll be right up there.”
Fighting on dual fronts
Tottenham will have to juggle Premier League and Champions League commitments for the first time since they reached the quarter-finals of Europe’s most prestigious competition six seasons ago. Jenas was part of that side and believes the current Spurs team can cope with competing on two fronts.
“You go from needing a good squad to a good squad of quality, but that’s exactly what they’ve got,” he said. “It’s all right having the numbers to cope with the amount of games but you need the quality of player to be able to handle life in the Champions League.
“We had that, we invested well, Rafa (van der Vaart) came to us, we had people like Luka Modric, we had some really good players within our ranks and got to the quarter-finals. Obviously we lost to Real Madrid but it was a hell of an experience.
“I think this team are suited to that. I was hoping that against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League last season we would have got a bit of a sample of what life would be like, but he [Pochettino] decided to rest everybody. I do think they'll do well though.”
* BT Sport Score is the place to keep up-to-date with all the news as it happens on a Saturday afternoon. Watch live on BT Sport 1 every Saturday at 2.30pm. For more information visit bt.com/sport
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