London – Mauricio Pochettino admits Tottenham Hotspur's chances of making a realistic challenge for the Premier League title are fading as once again they struggled to break down a defence-minded team at Wembley.
Prior to Saturday's 1-1 draw with managerless West Bromwich Albion, Pochettino's men had just one Premier League goal in three matches and have drawn with Burnley, Swansea City and now West Brom this season.
Pep Guardiola's league leaders Manchester City, having no such problems in creating or scoring against all-comers, are 10 points ahead of Spurs as they go into Sunday's match at Huddersfield Town.
"We moved the ball so slow in the first half hour," complained Pochettino. "But maybe because we concede the goal — it was a massive impact for us.
"In the last 15 minutes we played better, moved the ball better and found better space. The second half was very good, the team played very well and we created many chances.
"It is disappointing to drop two points. But it is difficult for me to explain why we have not won the game today."
Despite boasting the attacking talents of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen, Spurs have struggled to breach teams who are prepared to defend deep.
In the first half in particular, Tottenham lacked the guile to slice through the Baggies and were often reduced to shots from distance and visiting keeper Ben Foster was rarely troubled.
"The effort against West Bromwich was massive but in the last third, we need to be more clinical in front of goal," added Pochettino.
"I don't like to talk about the start. But the team created the chances to win and the possibility to score. Only Harry (Kane) rescued one point but it is true our performance was enough to win but we didn't win."
Should City win, they will be 13 points clear of Spurs. Asked if that was too big a gap, Pochettino conceded: "Yes it is true. The gap is now 10 points and that is massive in the Premier League.
"We need to be focused and be more consistent here at Wembley. It is different to White Hart Lane but that is our reality."
Tony Pulis was dismissed as West Brom's manager after a poor 4-0 home defeat by Chelsea last week. Gary Megson took temporary charge and he was delighted with his team's performance.
Former Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has been linked with the job at the Hawthorns but Megson refused to confirm or deny if he was interested in the position on a permanent basis.
"I have never said and I won't say that I'm interested in the job," said the former Leicester City manager, who also managed West Brom earlier in his career.
"If someone else comes in first thing in the morning, that's fine. I will speak to them, tell them what I know about the squad and the goings-on at the club.
"If the worst comes to the worst and I don't get offered anything anywhere else, then I'll go travelling again and continue playing golf badly."