Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce believes Tottenham do not have the mentality to win the title this time around and that they will be more inclined towards qualifying for the Champions League. Tottenham are currently in the fourth spot, only a point ahead of Allardyce's previous club West Ham, but have been tipped to challenge for the title with the squad that they have at their disposal.
Spurs last qualified for Europe's biggest club competition in the 2011/12 season and have been there and there about since, restricted by the financial muscle of clubs above them in the league. Mauricio Pochettino has done a remarkable job thus far, restricting the side to only three defeats all season, the lowest in the division. Spurs shall now take on Sunderland at White Hart Lane, with the Black Cats struggling to save relegation currently in 18th spot, only a point adrift of safety.
Sunderland have won their last two games in the league, against Aston Villa and Swansea City and can smell blood with Tottenham coming into the game on the back of a 1-0 defeat against Leicester City. Allardyce compared Tottenham's title charge with that of Liverpool in the 2013/14 season, who came close to ending their title drought but fell short by two points, owing to a flurry of mistakes committed in the latter half of the season, which has been attributed to a lack of mentality.
"I'm not sure they can hold their nerve," Allardyce said, as quoted by Goal. "Brendan Rodgers couldn't hold his nerve with Liverpool to win the title a couple of years ago. Just when they needed to be resilient, they [Liverpool] couldn't quite do it. And that can be down to that lack of experience which you need in order to win it.
"Listening to my old mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson, the hardest one to win for your players is always the first one – particularly when they're as young as Tottenham's. It would be nice if they did do it but I think their main aim is to finish in the Champions League," he added.