Mauricio Pochettino has conceded Tottenham are currently not at the level of the Premier League title race and added that a top four hunt is more realistic for the club.
Spurs were beaten 2-1 at Southampton on Saturday, continuing a torrid run of recent league form in which they have taken just one solitary point from their last four matches.
Reacting to the defeat, Pochettino told talkSPORT’s Alex Crook: “It’s a difficult thing, we are talking about the last nearly five years to change a mentality.
“That is a clear example that we are still not mature enough.
“When you talk a lot and when you find a lot of solution, it’s only one way, it’s to try to change, making different decisions that’s from the past.
“Of course, maybe that is our limit. It’s a little bit sad, but maybe we need to start to think that we need to operate in a different way from the start of next season.”
Harry Kane put Spurs ahead on the south coast, but Yan Valery and James Ward-Prowse ruined their afternoon.
Regarding what specifically needs to change at Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino continued: “I think we need to find the way to operate that we can provide the club to try to achieve the last step.
“I think we are doing a fantastic job in the last four/five years, but I think we need more and still we are not there.
“If we want to put the club in the last step like the people is talking, it’s of course that we need to find a way to try to provide the club the style that is going to make us to be better.”
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In Europe, Tottenham have performed fantastically of late as they dispatched German giants Borussia Dortmund 4-0 on aggregate to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
However, due to their slump in league form, Spurs have now been dragged into a four-way battle (with Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal) for two qualification places that guarantee entry into next season’s competition.
When asked whether he is now worried his team may miss out on the top four and fail to qualify for the Champions League, Pochettino added: “I am not concerned. I think we are there and that is our reality.
“I think everyone put us like a contender with Manchester City and Liverpool and now we are showing that it is not our level to be there.
“Of course maybe we were overachieving in the last few months but of course that is the level that we were showing.
“This afternoon, to win a game that after 45 minutes we deserve to be 3-0 or 4-0 up and then in the second half it’s a massive blessing for the opponent.
“It’s too difficult to talk about the last step, it’s too difficult to be a contender if at the end of the day if you are not in the top four, only you can blame yourself.”