Despite a host of circumstances being against them, Spurs somehow find themselves still in contention at the top of the league and could go second – just four points behind leaders Liverpool – if they win the lunchtime kick-off against Newcastle on Saturday.
It is an impressive achievement given the lack of money they have spent this season compared to their top-four rivals, having gone through a second successive transfer window without signing anyone.
They have recently lost two of their best players in Harry Kane and Dele Alli to lengthy injuries – amid an endless battle with fitness issues in their squad – and are still playing at Wembley.
None of that is conducive to making a realistic title bid and Formula One fan Pochettino used the plight of Alonso to highlight his point.
The Spaniard, up against Lewis Hamilton in a far superior car, finished 11th in the drivers’ championship last season, something the Argentinian says was not down to his driving skills.
“When you work in football, it’s because you want to win,” he said. “When you are a player the only thing you want is to win.
“You can be a winner but if you don’t have the tools to win, it’s difficult. If you have the car to win and you are good, then you win.
“If you have the same car as another who is good, then one is going to win and the other is going to lose.
“Take the example of Fernando Alonso and compare with Hamilton. If you put Hamilton in McLaren last season and Alonso in Mercedes, it’s the same result: Hamilton at the bottom and Alonso at the top.
“I always put the same example. Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are the best drivers in Formula One. But if you put Hamilton in McLaren last season and Alonso in Mercedes, it’s the same history, Hamilton on the bottom and Alonso on the top. That’s the reality.
Manchester City host Arsenal on Sunday, with two star strikers set to go head-to-head.
Sergio Aguero and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are expected to lead the frontline for City and the Gunners respectively.
Both players are into double goalscoring figures for the season, with Aguero on 11 goals from 20 matches, and Aubameyang on 15 goals from 24 matches. Check out the video to see the statistical breakdown.
In team news, City will check on the fitness of left-back Benjamin Mendy The France international has sat out the last two games as City ease him back into action following knee surgery but he has been involved in training this week.
Captain Vincent Kompany remains on the sidelines with a muscular problem and manager Pep Guardiola says he is unsure when the defender will return. Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo (Achilles) is a long-term absentee.
Arsenal could hand a debut to new signing Denis Suarez.
The 25-year-old former City youngster joined on loan from Barcelona for the rest of the season and is in line to make his bow at the Etihad Stadium.
Captain Laurent Koscielny (jaw) is fit to return and Henrikh Mkhitaryan could feature after overcoming a foot problem but Danny Welbeck and Sokratis Papastathopoulos (both ankle), Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding (both knee) remain out.
As Manchester City look to fulfil more historic feats this season, the forthcoming period could be as crucial as any to their hopes.
Games against Arsenal, Everton and Chelsea over the next week will be pivotal in the Premier League title race, while Maurizio Sarri’s Blues await in the League Cup final. Then it is Schalke in the Champions League’s round of 16 and a visit to Middlesbrough or Newport in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
The challenge of winning four trophies in a season, unprecedented in English football, still remains a possibility, however imposing.
For Ilkay Gundogan it is one they must embrace. After last season’s Premier League and League Cup triumphs, he says the City mantra is always to do better.
“We will try to be in every competition as long as possible,” Gundogan told Sport360 exclusively. “That’s what our target should be.
“Already we are in one final, like last year, the League Cup. It’s always good to win this trophy even though some people think we should not prioritise this one.
“But we are in the final, it will be a special feeling to be at Wembley, against Chelsea, a tough team, and it’s going to be a great game, and we want to win it as well.
“Then we have the three other competitions to go for. Not including the Premier League, at least we can try to be better than last season in two of the competitions, and if we reach that point then we have a chance of doing it.
“We have reached the same in the FA Cup and we have the Champions League that we want to do well in as well. We are feeling good and want to push as much as possible.”
After eight-successive wins, six clean sheets and 33 goals scored, City were upset 2-1 by Newcastle in midweek.
But Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Leicester means the gap is five points rather than the seven expected and hope remains.
Pep Guardiola will expect a response against Arsenal on Sunday and Gundogan recalls how chastening defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester spurred their recent winning run, which included victory over Liverpool.
“It was disappointing for our run to end [at Newcastle], but we have to keep going and keep believing,” he added.
“I think the games we lost in December opened our eyes a little bit you know.
“We were not efficient enough anymore and made some mistakes so we conceded goals too easily.
“After these games we knew we had to improve, especially defensively, because the quality we have up front is ridiculous and we know we can always score.
“I think in the title race it’s crucial to be defensively as solid as possible.
“With the quality we have in the team, it feels like every player can replace the other one and the quality does not drop.
“There’s huge potential in that team and we have to show it on the pitch. These home games with Arsenal and Chelsea are very important.
“We are going out to win these games, but you can’t deny both have a lot of quality and it’s very important to be good defensively against these teams and not concede – and then I believe we can win both games with our quality.”
On the subject of quality, Gundogan admitted surprise at Mesut Ozil’s struggles to get into the Arsenal starting line-up.
Having played with and against his German compatriot and friend, he said Ozil, at his best, was comparable to City’s playmaker and assist king Kevin De Bruyne.
“Both are game changers,” said Gundogan. “Kevin is a little bit more aggressive in his style and, at Mesut’s best, both are on a similar level.
“I think people always criticise Mesut because they think his attitude on the pitch is not a good one, that he doesn’t care that much.
“But I think people just struggle to accept that you can have the more emotional kind of players, the more aggressive ones and you have players like him, you know, that need maybe this calmness for their game.
“It looks a bit more elegant and slow, but believe me it’s so difficult to defend against these kind of players. They make everything look so easy and I think sometimes you forget to appreciate these kind of things.
“Obviously we always watch games and, even me, we always think we know better. But on the pitch it’s always a different story.
“A player like him, with his huge talent, I don’t think it just surprises just me, but a lot of people, that he doesn’t play regularly.”
He added: “Of course I have sympathy for him. Also, because I know the more regularly you play, the easier it is because you have the rhythm and just keep going and you don’t think about certain things too much.
“My experience from the last couple of years at City is that you get your game time and then the next few games there’s always someone coming in with similar quality, ridiculous quality, and our manager in these kind of cases has a very tough job.
“He always has to choose who to pick and try to divide game time throughout the whole squad. That’s a very tough thing to do. In a team like Manchester City, Arsenal, and other big clubs, it’s quite difficult just to have the same 11 players starting every week
“From my own experience, the more you play, back-to-back games, the better you feel, with more self confidence and rhythm.”
Where Ozil’s future at Arsenal remains uncertain, more so with the arrival of Denis Suarez from Barcelona, Guardiola has made it clear he wants to keep Gundogan at City.
Talks have taken place on extending the midfielder’s contract that ends in 2020.
And Gundogan said: “I’m happy where I am right now. I enjoy my football, I don’t think in a sporting way there is any other place to be right now. But I still have 18 months to go. I’m 28 now, not the youngest anymore, but I don’t think there is any pressure, not for the club, not for me to rush it.”