What has happened to Spurs' form, and is Pochettino responsible?

Mauricio Pochettino has to get his Tottenham players firing again before the season's end, otherwise the Argentine may struggle to get things going again next year.

Somehow Tottenham are the club who have spurned winnable games to close the gap on the top four, and now find themselves behind Liverpool and Southampton in the unlikely race to gain Champions League football.

Against both Burnley and Aston Villa recently, the Tottenham players were unable to match their more determined opponents, but a quick look at the table shows just how disappointing that is for the Spurs faithful. If the Lilywhites had won their last two games they would be just two points behind Manchester City in fourth position, with the Citizens still to visit White Hart Lane.

Talk about a missed opportunity.

Four of Spurs' six remaining fixtures are away from White Hart Lane, but most of them - trips to Southampton, Stoke and Everton and the home game with City - look more than a little tricky given the club's current form. What will happen if Spurs fail to win another game, if performances stay the same?

What could have been Tottenham's chance to overtake champions City for that fourth place spot at the start of May is likely to have little significance for the North London club, who are performing like they have nothing much to play for. Simply put, nothing less than a win will do in their next game at Newcastle, a team with the worst form in the league.

Perhaps the Tottenham players have suffered from the disappointment of losing to Chelsea in the League Cup final at the start of March, as well as a lack of belief and drive towards catching the existing top four. It's certainly happened before.

But the most frustrating thing for the fans at White Hart Lane is seeing more than the players apparently have been able to. With the unpredictable nature of the league this year, there was still plenty to play for as Tottenham prepared for the games against Burnley and Aston Villa, two relegation threatened teams.

Unfortunately, all form has deserted the likes of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen, two players who have carried the team this season, and the other players haven't pushed hard enough to take more than one point from the those two games.

For that, Mauricio Pochettino has to take some responsibility. Why didn't he gee up his side to be as determined and focused as possible in case, and now it's looking like it is something that may well happen, one of the teams in the top four take a nose dive.

When Spurs got to the League Cup final in 2008, there was a similar crash of performances after the Wembley final, with Juande Ramos's side winning only three of their remaining twelve games.

Under Redknapp a year later, a season when the club started in disastrous form that saw them pick up just two points from their opening eight games, Spurs turned around the disappointment of a League Cup defeat to Manchester United to win seven of their remaining twelve games, losing just three.

This season's Spurs side have won three games since the Wembley loss, but their form hasn't been the same since that fabulous 2-1 win over Arsenal in February. However the side have lost those performances, the manager has to ensure there are more wins left in the tank, even if a Champions League spot may be even harder to achieve. 

Pochettino must prove his worth now in the last few games of the season. There is no point him sitting on his decisions about which players to keep and which to sell next season. The current starting line-up is likely to remain in his squad for the most part next year, so he has to earn his money in getting them focused and capable of winning games again.

Tottenham fans travel from across the country and pay good money to support their team, something Pochettino has to make clear to players that are already waiting for the season to end, and what he should really be doing is saying to his squad that these are the real games that will decide who stays, who goes and who will be given a role in the starting lineup on the first game of the 2015-16 campaign.

Because if the Argentine makes a Ramos-like start to next season, it'll be difficult for him to retain the faith of players, the board or indeed the supporters.

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