Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that he was left unimpressed by some of his players' title comments after their 3-0 win over Manchester United back in August.
After their dominant victory at Old Trafford, players from the north London side talked up a potential title challenge this season, which Pochettino has now admitted left him frustrated.
But after an impressive run of form which has seen Spurs climb in to third in the Premier League, and on the coat-tails of both Liverpool and Manchester City above them, the Argentine manager has revealed he has been pleased by his side's growing maturity and temperament.
He revealed (as quoted by the Daily Mail): "After our victory at Old Trafford, I was so disappointed with some of the comments, the way we assimilated the victory.
"After that we improved a lot and learned. In football, you always have to be respectful and talk on the pitch. We're in a very good position - last 16 of the Champions League, semi-final of the Carabao Cup and third in the Premier League table."
Everton 1-0 Spurs— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) 24 December 2018
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He added: "I remember when we arrived it always was about how? How do we reduce the gap to the top? How can we be competitive in big games? How can we be consistent? How? How? How?
"After four-and-a-half years I think we're in a very good position. But now the last step is the most difficult step. It looks so close but sometimes it's not so close. That is why it's tough to keep going."
After a difficult summer in which Spurs became the only side in the top five European leagues not to make a signing, Pochettino was effusive in his praise of his current group of players.
He added: "In our first press conference after the World Cup I told you this is going to be one of the most difficult seasons for us. When many things were negative, when all the circumstances were not the best to start with.
"But we fought a lot and we took a massive challenge, fighting all together, and we're doing a fantastic job."