Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has warned his side they will “crash” if they start to believe they are the real deal after their impressive win at Manchester United.
Spurs put out a real statement of intent with a 3-0 success against United on Monday night, with many observers now believing they can challenge for the Premier League title.
Pochettino, though, was not happy with the first-half display at Old Trafford and has told his players to believe the “reality” rather than “perception”.
They travel to Watford on Sunday and the Argentinian has warned against any complacency.
He said: “My mood wasn’t great. I was so disappointed. I think we need to improve our performance.
“The first half I wasn’t happy and I translated that to the players. We need to fight against the perception.
“When you compare the perception and the reality, we need to talk about the reality, and the reality was in the first half we can concede one, two or three goals.
“But of course the team showed character and in the second half we were much better.
“But if we want to fight for big things, before talking to you and expressing our feelings to the media and our fans, it’s about trying to improve.
“We need to show we are contenders during 10 months and we need to improve our performance.
“We’re going to play on Sunday against a very good team – a team that’s going to fight and is in a very good moment.
“After three games they’re over the moon. Of course if we’re not ready and we believe because we beat Manchester United 3-0 that all is fantastic, I think we are going to crash.
“It’s easy to talk about perception. When you’ve beaten Manchester United 3-0 in Old Trafford, a historic victory, it’s easy to say our performance was fantastic and they were not so good.
“But when you watch again the game I think the line was very thin, to be in the left or right, in the positive or negative.
“If we want to fight and be a contender, we need to talk on the pitch and not outside. We need to show we are capable after 10 months, not only after three games.”
Spurs were handed a tough Champions League draw for the group stage, which sees them take on PSV, Inter Milan and Barcelona, where Pochettino owns a house.
It is another eye-watering group after facing Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia last season.
“I think when you going to play PSV, Inter Milan or Barcelona that’s like last season, the real Champions League,” Pochettino added.
“We are going to play every game and they’re Champions League games. With the Premier League it’s the best league in the world.
“It’s so exciting to face this kind of club. Of course it’s so exciting. I come back to my town Barcelona. Always it’s exciting to play against a team like Barcelona, Inter Milan or PSV.
“Of course it’s a young team PSV but it’s exciting to play there too.”