Pochettino defiant but Dier admits it’s ‘nearly impossible’ for Spurs to catch Chelsea

Tottenham’s Eric Dier virtually admitted the title race was over after their defeat at West Ham, but boss Mauricio Pochettino insisted they are “still fighting” in the battle to catch Chelsea.

Second-placed Spurs’ loss ended their nine-match winning run and means leaders Chelsea could be crowned champions before the north London side play again.

A win for Chelsea against Middlesbrough on Monday would put Antonio Conte’s team seven points clear at the top and knowing that then beating West Brom next Friday would clinch the title.

“It was already going to be hard before and now it’s even harder. That’s all I can say really. We know it,” Dier told Sky Sports.

“It’s disappointing really because we’ve been on a fantastic run, but they made it hard for us, played very deep, and we didn’t create enough chances.

“It’s very disappointing. We knew it was going to be tough a long time ago but we managed to bring it back to four points and after today it’s nearly impossible, but we’ll give it everything for these three games now.”

Pochettino, meanwhile, stopped short of conceding that his team’s title hopes had been ended.

He said: “We are still fighting. It is disappointing to lose this game and now it’s waiting for Chelsea’s result and then the three games ahead.

“Now it’s more difficult to catch Chelsea but we need to try always.”

Pochettino added: “We dominated in the first half and were the better team, but at the start of the second half we were a bit sloppy and when you are fighting for the title you must not concede this type of goal.

“Then it was difficult to find space and they defended deeper. I think we were unlucky and didn’t deserve to lose, but we lost and it is true that this was a difficult game.”