I never expected Tottenham to finish in the top two but Mauricio Pochettino is delivering, says Alan Pardew

James Benge
Pochettino and Pardew before Tottenham and Crystal Palace's match in August: Getty Images

Former Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew hailed the work done by Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham but admitted he did not see them as contenders for a top two finish this season.

Spurs have already earned their record points haul in a Premier League season (77) with four games left of their campaign and need just two draws to guarantee a runners-up spot this year.

No side has won more points than Tottenham during the last two seasons, though it seems unlikely that Spurs will end the season with a trophy as Chelsea hold a four point lead at the top of the table.

Pardew, who appeared four times for Spurs during the 1995 Intertoto Cup, said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football: “With four games to go if someone said to me at the start of the season Spurs would more or less have wrapped up the runners-up spot [by now] I’d have been surprised.”

Pochettino has won widespread admiration for his work at Spurs, who have been transformed from perennial underachievers to one of the country’s most formidable young sides in a few short years.

The strides they have made were crystallised in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Arsenal in White Hart Lane’s final North London Derby, a result that ensured they would finish above their rivals for the first time in 22 years.

And Pardew, who left Palace in December, believes Pochettino is fulfilling the potential that Spurs have so often failed to deliver on.

“A lot of good managers have had big moves to Spurs and not been able to deliver, how many years have we said ‘this could be Spurs’ year?’,” Pardew added.

“They’ve never delivered but he is [delivering]. In the last two seasons they have the best record.

“He has done an unbelievable job but you also have to admire Daniel Levy and the scouting team because they have produced some real winners on signing players.”