Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has warned his side they will “crash” if they start to believe they are the real deal after their impressive win at Manchester United.
Spurs put out a real statement of intent with a 3-0 success against United on Monday night, with many observers now believing they can challenge for the Premier League title.
Pochettino, though, was not happy with the first-half display at Old Trafford and has told his players to believe the “reality” rather than “perception”.
They travel to Watford on Sunday and the Argentinian has warned against any complacency.
He said: “My mood wasn’t great. I was so disappointed. I think we need to improve our performance.
“The first half I wasn’t happy and I translated that to the players. We need to fight against the perception.
“When you compare the perception and the reality, we need to talk about the reality, and the reality was in the first half we can concede one, two or three goals.
“But of course the team showed character and in the second half we were much better.
“But if we want to fight for big things, before talking to you and expressing our feelings to the media and our fans, it’s about trying to improve.
“We need to show we are contenders during 10 months and we need to improve our performance.
“We’re going to play on Sunday against a very good team – a team that’s going to fight and is in a very good moment.
“After three games they’re over the moon. Of course if we’re not ready and we believe because we beat Manchester United 3-0 that all is fantastic, I think we are going to crash.
“It’s easy to talk about perception. When you’ve beaten Manchester United 3-0 in Old Trafford, a historic victory, it’s easy to say our performance was fantastic and they were not so good.
“But when you watch again the game I think the line was very thin, to be in the left or right, in the positive or negative.
“If we want to fight and be a contender, we need to talk on the pitch and not outside. We need to show we are capable after 10 months, not only after three games.”
Spurs were handed a tough Champions League draw for the group stage, which sees them take on PSV, Inter Milan and Barcelona, where Pochettino owns a house.
It is another eye-watering group after facing Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia last season.
“I think when you going to play PSV, Inter Milan or Barcelona that’s like last season, the real Champions League,” Pochettino added.
“We are going to play every game and they’re Champions League games. With the Premier League it’s the best league in the world.
“It’s so exciting to face this kind of club. Of course it’s so exciting. I come back to my town Barcelona. Always it’s exciting to play against a team like Barcelona, Inter Milan or PSV.
“Of course it’s a young team PSV but it’s exciting to play there too.”
Leicester defender Christian Fuchs admits the club’s title winners now face a battle to make the team.
The former Austria international knows the squad remains in transition, two years after their famous Premier League triumph.
Only four championship winners started the 2-1 win at Southampton – although Jamie Vardy was suspended – and it is likely to be the same case when the Foxes host Liverpool on Saturday.
Fuchs’ only appearance this season came in Tuesday’s 4-0 League Cup win over Fleetwood, where he scored a spectacular opener, and he knows the class of 2016 cannot simply trade on past glories.
He said: “No, but we never did. The win is already two and half years ago now. That is just normal in football, you try to always take the next step and evolve the team to build something new.
“Every manager has his own ideas. Back then it was Claudio (Ranieri) and since then we have had two other managers. There is always a change and it is just normal, we all live with that, it is nothing new for me.
“Of course I want to play. Everyone in the squad wants to. If you are not playing then obviously you are not overly happy.
“Whenever the gaffer needs me I am here and the performance against Fleetwood shows I am always here. I feel great. I feel I am still in my prime and feel better than ever.”
Fuchs, who joined from Schalke in 2015, will leave to join his family in New York next summer when his contract expires as the league champions steadily leave the King Power Stadium.
Riyad Mahrez left for Manchester City for £60million this summer while Robert Huth was released and Leonardo Ulloa was allowed to join Pachuca in Mexico.
N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater joined Chelsea in 2016 and 2017 respectively while Danny Simpson and Andy King are expected to go in due course.
Boss Claude Puel added £24m man James Maddison to the squad in the summer, along with Ricardo Pereira, Rachid Ghezzal, Danny Ward and Caglar Soyuncu.
And Fuchs feels the strength in depth at Leicester has grown.
The 32-year-old said: “I think we can line up two squads. I think the squad is wide and gives a lot of quality. The game against Fleetwood showed if there is an injury – I hope no one will get injured – the next man is there to fill the role.”
Vardy serves the final game of his ban against Liverpool while Matty James (Achilles) remains out.
Jose Mourinho has dismissed speculation about his future at Manchester United by restating his belief that he is “one of the greatest managers in the world”.
The 55-year-old, who introduced himself to English football in 2004 as “the special one”, told reporters on Friday that he would still be special even if he fails at United.
“I am the manager of the one of the greatest clubs in the world but I’m also one of the greatest managers in the world,” said Mourinho.
“I repeat, I have won eight titles (as a manager). I’m the only manager to win in Italy, Spain and England.
“Not small titles, proper titles, and my second last season was one of my greatest achievements in football.”
The Red Devils face Burnley away on Sunday and Mourinho was spotted scouting at Turf Moor during the Clarets’ Europa League qualifying clash against Olympiacos on Thursday night.