Mousa Dembele says Tottenham risk being ‘demotivated’ if they fixate on top-four odds

'Has our chance of a top-four finish gone? We don't need to think like that' says Mousa Demebele as Spurs look to get back on track against Leicester City.

Mousa has appeared in 20 Premier League games for Tottenham Hotspur this season. Ian Kington / AFP
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Harry Kane's call-up to the senior England squad has provided Tottenham Hotspur with a much-needed lift ahead of the meeting with struggling Leicester City at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

The North London club's challenge for a top four finish in the Premier League stalled last weekend when they suffered a 3-0 defeat at Manchester United.

Had Mauricio Pochettino’s side managed to register a third successive league win, they would face the league’s bottom side just one point outside the Champions League places.

Instead, United’s victory means there is a six-point gap between Tottenham and fourth spot, leaving Pochettino’s team to overcome a daunting challenge if they are to force their way back into contention during the final nine games of the season.

The fact they remain in the mix is largely due to Kane’s outstanding form, which has earned the 21-year-old recognition from England coach Roy Hodgson who has included the striker in his squad for the forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifier with Lithuania and the friendly with Italy.

Kane’s return of 26 goals highlights Tottenham’s attacking strength, but weaknesses in defence have stalled the club’s progress.

Yet Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele insists there will be no change in approach during the run-in.

“We’ve played some games against the top teams where we played unbelievable attacking football. We don’t have to change anything at the moment because we are capable of beating the big teams,” he said.

“We didn’t do it at Old Trafford and that game was different from what we are used to, but we are playing well. We have shown this season what we can do against the big sides.

“We want to end the season in a good rhythm. Has our chance of a top-four finish gone? We don’t need to think like that otherwise we could become demotivated. Let’s try to win all our remaining games and see where we end.

“We have a good group and a good mentality so I hope we bounce back at the right moment.”

Striker Roberto Soldado is Pochettino’s major doubt this weekend, with the Spaniard battling to recover from a knee injury.

Leicester are likely to have a near full strength squad, with only Dean Hammond missing as they bid to make up the seven points that currently separate them from safety.

Manager Nigel Pearson admits his team need to become more ruthless if they are to survive having scored just four times in the last six matches.

“We have to make sure we become more ruthless in front of goal. But we have a belief in these players that we can make progress,” he said.

“We have to make sure we remain in touch and make sure our destiny stays in our own hands.

“If we get into the latter stages and four of the last five games are at home – it’s something we can be relatively positive about.

“But the longer we go on in these situations, the more we have to make some sort of impact. There is still a belief in our camp that we can do something about it.

“I can see something happening, unfortunately what we haven’t been able to do is get ourselves into winning positions that often this season.

“One of the big frustrations is that there haven’t been too many occasions that we’ve been totally out of the game. That’s something we have to concentrate on.”

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