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Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino: Chelsea FA Cup semifinal favourites

LONDON -- Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has claimed Chelsea's experience of winning trophies makes them the favourites for Saturday's FA Cup semifinal.

Spurs are the Premier League's form team, having won seven consecutive top-flight matches for the first time since 1967 and reduced the gap to leaders Chelsea to four points.

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Pochettino has previously said Chelsea "know what it means to win," and he told a news conference that would give them the edge at Wembley despite his side's form.

"If there's a favourite it's Chelsea because they are on the top of the table in the Premier League and because of the experienced players they have and the manager that they have," he said.

"We are talking about a team that has won a European competition, has a manager that won the league with Juventus in Italy.

"It's a more experienced team than us, but we're in a good moment -- a hungry team."

Pochettino said that to challenge a club such as Chelsea was "a very important thing" for Spurs.

"We're going there trying to play in our way, win and go to the final," he added.

"It's important to enjoy the game. We must feel the happiness because it's a very important competition and we're fighting with the best teams in England, and that makes us very proud.

"For us it's a final and we need to show that from the first moment. We need to play aggressively, with our philosophy."

Mauricio Pochettino wants Spurs to put on an aggressive display at Wembley.

Spurs lost their discipline and a two-goal lead when they drew 2-2 at Stamford Bridge close to the end of last season -- a result that confirmed Leicester as Premier League champions.

But Pochettino said: "We are showing we have learned from last season.

"We have improved a lot. The team is playing in a good way, exciting football, scoring goals and not conceding not too many goals.

"Now is the moment to show and to translate that feeling into reality. You can say that, at the end of the season, you grow up and learn if you win some titles. That's the most difficult step to achieve.

"You are competing with big clubs and big players. You fight the likes of Chelsea -- you compare the players, and they have players that won World Cups.

"First of all you must be there and be close and have the possibility to challenge. Then it is up to us to try to step up."

Pochettino will be without Michel Vorm (knee), Erik Lamela (hip), Harry Winks (ankle) and Danny Rose (knee) on Saturday, but said England left-back could "maybe" be fit for the North London derby against Arsenal on April 30.

Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.


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