Spurs have top-four finish in hands despite draining FA Cup loss - Mauricio Pochettino
LONDON -- Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino said the FA Cup semifinal defeat to Manchester United sapped his players but it was "in our hands" to secure a place in the top four.
Spurs followed the cup loss with an unconvincing 2-0 win over Watford but were then beaten at West Bromwich Albion, opening the door for Chelsea to potentially pip them to a Champions League spot.
Spurs must beat Newcastle and Leicester City at Wembley to guarantee a top-four spot and Pochettino said: "The disappointment of the FA Cup was difficult for everyone and put down the energy a little bit.
"But we're conscious we're going to play for a massive thing -- Champions League. It's not the same to play in the Europa League as the Champions League, with all my respect.
"We know very well it depends on us. We need to think that -- be focused on us, be focused on giving our best.
"Against Newcastle we have 90 minutes for the first possibility to win and then be thinking of another win. I think the players and everyone is conscious that we're going to play for a big thing. But it's in our hands to finish third."
Chelsea, who trail Spurs by two points, host Huddersfield on Wednesday and travel to Newcastle on the final day of the season.
Liverpool are a point ahead of Tottenham but have just one match remaining, against Brighton.
Pochettino will be without three holding midfielders for the Magpies' visit after Eric Dier (illness) joined Mousa Dembele and Harry Winks (both ankle) on the sidelines, and said he was relieved to have Victor Wanyama fit and playing well.
"He is doing well and we're happy that he's recovered his form," he said, with Wanyama expected to make only his seventh league start of the season on Wednesday.
"Of course, all the players available today need to think they're important players to achieve what the club wants in the end. That is the most important thing -- the commitment and to show they care for the club.
"You need to respect all 24 players. In November, I remember the media said [to me]: 'Why do you rotate?' Now, maybe, some players that didn't play so much in the first six months of the season are going to be decisive."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.