Mauricio Pochettino believes he would have been sacked by now if he had delivered domestic cups at Tottenham instead of top-four finishes -- and he says his ambition is to win the Premier League and Champions League with the club.
Spurs have not won silverware since 2008. But, as they prepare to begin their FA Cup campaign at Tranmere on Friday, Pochettino feels their status in the top flight and Europe outweighs the emptiness of the trophy cabinet, and that they should be targeting the top prizes.
"If it's only the objective to win the Carabao Cup and be in the middle of the table in the Premier League, I think today we're not talking how we're talking here," Pochettino said. "I think I [would have been] sacked a few years ago, for sure, with two or three Carabao Cups or FA Cups.
"If you don't finish how we've finished in the last three seasons [but win] the FA Cup, I don't know if Daniel [Levy, the chairman] would have too much patience with me or is very nice and says, 'OK you're 10th in the Premier League, I keep you and even give you a new contract.' I don't believe that.
"What is success? Of course, we're the first that will want to win a trophy but that doesn't mean it's going to be a very successful thing or put Tottenham in a different level.
"What puts you in a different level is if you win the Premier League and you're capable of challenging every season for the Premier League, and if you play Champions League and you really believe and you're a real contender one day to win the Champions League. That's my objective in Tottenham.
"If my ambition in Tottenham is only to win the Capital One Cup or FA Cup, with all the respect for that, I think my ambition does not match the ambition of a club like Tottenham. My ambition is to win the Champions League one day with Tottenham, or the Premier League."
Pochettino said Tottenham's ability to consistently challenge the Premier League's elite teams with a lesser budget has made them "a target" and "the team to beat."
Spurs, who are building a new stadium and did not make a single summer signing, have finished in the top three places in each of the last three seasons and now lie third again, six points off the top.
"It's true we're the team to beat," Pochettino said. "Remember when we fought with Leicester? Everyone wanted to kill us. But that's because they showed respect to us because of the project we're in.
"For many people maybe we're not very successful because we still haven't won a trophy, but the people respect us in the way we're doing it. It's not being arrogant, it's being realistic.
"A club like Chelsea spend big money now on a transfer but say, 'We send him on loan.' Do you think Tottenham can do this? No. But in the last few years Tottenham is fighting with this type of clubs.
"That is a thing that I think no-one likes to another too much. That is why everyone wants to challenge us. It's a massive game every time. Wolves beat us and they behaved like they won the Premier League, but then they lost to Crystal Palace.
"It's because Tottenham have created something special in this country. I promise, it's not about being arrogant. It's that we're a target for different reasons."
Pochettino stated his intention to pick "a strong starting XI" against Tranmere. But, since it is Spurs' fifth match in 13 days, he is likely to rest senior stars against the League Two side, saving them for Tuesday's showdown with Chelsea in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semifinals.
Pochettino may call upon squad players Fernando Llorente and even Georges-Kevin Nkoudou -- two who would probably be allowed to leave this month if acceptable offers arrived -- after insisting that the January transfer window will not affect his selection plans.