Mauricio Pochettino admits Tottenham's late stumble still hurts
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 05/11/16 7:21am
Mauricio Pochettino admits it still hurts to think about Arsenal finishing above Tottenham last season.
Spurs were five points clear of the Gunners with three games left and needed only a draw on the final day to finish above their rivals for the first time since 1995.
Pochettino's men stumbled, however, slipping to a 5-1 defeat at the hands of already-relegated Newcastle, while Arsenal hammered Aston Villa to snatch second place.
The two rivals meet at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday and Pochettino admits last season's collapse still rankles.
"I still feel bad about last season," Pochettino said. "It was so easy to be above Arsenal in that moment.
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"It's true that we felt very disappointed after the Chelsea game but with two games ahead and only one point (needed) to be above them, that was very frustrating and disappointing.
"It was difficult to not think about that situation. But we have another opportunity now and we will see what happens."
Despite their disappointing finish, Tottenham certainly pushed Leicester closest in the title race last season, but it is Arsenal who start as favourites this weekend.
While Spurs have struggled for form and fluency in recent weeks - they are winless in six games since beating Manchester City so impressively last month - Arsene Wenger's men have hit their stride with 10 victories out of 11.
Harry Kane is rated at 50-50 to start the match after recovering from an ankle injury but Pochettino insists his first-choice striker alone cannot solve the team's scoring problems.
"After City, we were the best and now we are the worst - it's always about balance," Pochettino said.
"Yes, we have some problems to create chances or be clinical in front of goal or to show more consistency.
"But maybe the problem is not in front. Maybe it's because we are not building in a very good way from the back and the ball arrives in the last third in different condition."
Toby Alderweireld (leg), Erik Lamela (hip) and Ben Davies (ankle) are all out this weekend while a late decision will be made on Mousa Dembele after he came off against Bayer Leverkusen in midweek with a foot problem.
If Dembele is not passed fit, it could pave the way for 21-year-old academy graduate Harry Winks to come in.
Pochettino made a similarly bold move in this fixture two years ago, when Dembele was also injured, as he handed Ryan Mason his first Premier League start at the Emirates Stadium.
"Maybe, maybe yes," Pochettino said about Winks' chances of playing.
"We need to assess Dembele first of all to decide but Harry is doing very well, not only against Leverkusen but Liverpool in the EFL Cup and before.
"It was the same with Mousa before that game (in 2014) when he was also a doubt. I remember and I decided to play with Mason."