Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino has told his players not to waste their energy thinking about the title this season.
Spurs are six points behind surprise leaders Leicester and have a kind schedule over Christmas, which starts at home to Newcastle on Sunday before matches against Southampton, Norwich and Watford.
It means Pochettino’s side could begin the new year within touching distance of top spot and Newcastle manager Steve McClaren has claimed Tottenham would be title contenders were it not for their Europa League commitments.
“I respect his opinion and I believe that we have a very strong squad and very good players,” Pochettino said.
“After 14 games unbeaten we need to keep on the same level to win every game.
“But it is too early to start to speak about winning the title. Achievements come at the end of the season. For me, it is too early. We need to keep working hard and show the same winning mentality.
“This is the most important thing because if we start to speak about challenging for objectives at the end of the season then maybe we will be spending energy on things that are not important today.
“We need to keep our feet on the ground, this is the most important thing.”
Pochettino has maintained his faith in young players this season, with Dele Alli, Eric Dier and most recently Joshua Onomah, an 18-year-old academy graduate, all breaking into the first team.
The squad’s energy and enthusiasm benefits Pochettino’s dynamic style of play but the Argentinian insists his experienced players have been just as important.
“I hear a lot ‘because Pochettino has at Tottenham a very young squad it is easy for them to play the way they play because they spend a lot of energy’,” Pochettino said.
“If the squad is young and doing well then all is good but if not people say you need more experienced players.
“But the most important thing is that we believe in the way that we play, in our methods. The key is to work very hard in the training sessions.
“Always in football the balance is the most important thing.”
Dier sustained a knock in the win over Monaco on Thursday and was substituted before half-time but the midfielder will be fit in time to face the Magpies.
Mousa Dembele and Clinton Njie have been ruled out, while Ryan Mason and Alex Pritchard are both unavailable with ankle injuries.
Newcastle are 18th in the table but will arrive at White Hart Lane rejuvenated after last weekend’s shock 2-0 win over Liverpool.
“We expect a very tough game against Newcastle, they had a great victory last week against Liverpool,” Pochettino added.
“It is a very dangerous game for us. We need to be very focused and ready to have the same motivation, energy and quality that we showed against Monaco.”