LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino has said it is not impossible for Tottenham to beat Manchester City to next season's Premier League title, but he admitted they will have to work harder and with 'different tools' to the new champions.
City were crowned champions on Sunday after Manchester United's shock defeat to West Brom and Pochettino has already begun plotting how to win next year's title. He said a fast start was key, but conceded that without vast sums of money or a golden generation of young players, Spurs were at a considerable disadvantage.
Man City boss Pep Guardiola has now won seven league titles in three countries, but at Barcelona he was aided by a remarkable academy influx including Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, while he has spent nearly £450 million in two years at the Etihad.
After congratulating Guardiola and City, Pochettino said: "It is not impossible to beat them [to the title] -- we need to start the season better -- but of course it is difficult.
"It's not all about money in football but it helps. It helps a lot. It's like happiness. It's not that if you're a billionaire you're going to be happy, but sure that helps a lot. In football it's the same. You can work unbelievably, you can have these ideas on football as a coach. But then you need the principal actors to deliver this idea and of course if you have better players, you have better quality.
"If you want a bigger house you need to pay what the market says. If you want five rooms, you need to have the money to pay for five rooms. If you want two or one, you need less money, but then the quality is completely different. In football it's the same.
"Or you have a spontaneous generation like at Barcelona with Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, [Gerard] Pique, [Cesc] Fabregas, [Carles] Puyol. Or like '92 generation at Manchester United. That is not about money; that is a spontaneous generation that makes your team unbelievable.
"But in football it is to be clear about who you are and then try to maximise your tools. Tottenham, for us, is about being brave, to believe, to work hard -- harder than the other teams that people consider are on our level.
"In reality, you put Tottenham on the same level as the top four or top six because the last few years we have been there. But many years ago it was sixth, seventh or eighth [in the league]. And the day we signed here the challenge was to reduce the gap. Now we are there, but for the most important is we are there with a completely different way and tools to Manchester City or Manchester United."
The gap to City stands at 20 points with five games to play following Spurs' 3-1 defeat to Guardiola's side at Wembley Stadium, their temporary home for the season, on Saturday.
But Pochettino said his team deserved credit for being in the top four, pointing out that they faced a number of problems at the start of the season including "the Wembley hoodoo" and delayed transfer business.
"If you remember when we played against Manchester City in Nashville [in preseason], losing 3-0," he said. "In that moment, at the end of July, still we hadn't signed one player, when City, Chelsea, Man United were signing a lot of players. Sometimes we lose the perspective.
"It is important to talk about context. Last season we had many problems, not only these problems but with the Wembley hoodoo. Now we are fourth, seven point gap [to fifth-placed Chelsea]. Before the start of the season everyone would have signed [up for] that. We deserve credit."
As well as a fast start and more consistency, Pochettino said Spurs would need to improve the squad in order to be closer to City next season, but he admitted that even if they work around the clock, Spurs could still struggle to find players to improve the squad, particularly while there is so much focus on finishing the club's new £850m stadium.
"We can work 24 hours [a day] but then it is about having the capacity to sign some players that can add more quality to help you increase your level," Pochettino said.
"It is not easy to focus [solely] on improving the squad. City is already focusing on the next three players to add. Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are doing the same. We are focusing on different areas. It is not easy to achieve what we want."
Spurs' hopes of improving the squad in the summer will be further complicated by the World Cup, which runs from June 14 to July 15, and Pochettino said he was wary of targeting players on the back of strong showings in Russia.
"It is so dangerous to go and scout players in the World Cup," he said. "Because if a player is good, how after are you going to sign him? Sometimes you need to anticipate, 'OK, this player can be good for us' and then he goes to the World Cup but you need to sign him before the tournament starts because you will have a lot of competition [otherwise] if they are good.
"We are thinking and trying to anticipate because it will be difficult if not. If the performance is not good at the World Cup you are going to sign players that have not performed in the way you have expected and if you are going to sign players where the performance is so good it will be so complicated."