LONDON (Reuters) - Mauricio Pochettino hopes his stuttering Tottenham Hotspur side can change the 'dynamic' and put together the kind of run that will fire them back into the Premier League's top four.
Two defeats and two draws from their last four league games have left Tottenham in sixth place, four points behind fourth-placed Liverpool and 18 behind leaders Manchester City.
Wednesday's 3-0 victory over Cypriot club APOEL Nicosia completed a superb Champions League group phase for Pochettino's side, which he hopes will provide the spark as they prepare for consecutive home games against Stoke City and Brighton and Hove Albion.
"Some difficult periods happen for all the teams," the Argentine told reporters on Friday. "For us it's happened now.
"I hope after APOEL it's changed the dynamic. For every single club, always there's a period where you struggle, for different reasons. To keep the same level during 10 months is so difficult for a group of players.
"Sometimes the dynamic changes and we are working so hard to try to change the dynamic and have a little bit more luck in different situations to win games.
"We have a very strong squad, enough quality and we trust in us. I hope after APOEL we are going to win matches."
With 25 points from 15 games Tottenham are actually only two points worse off than at the same stage last season when they finished runners-up behind Chelsea.
The difference is that the clubs who they left in the shade last season, namely Manchester City and Manchester United have improved considerably, as have Liverpool.
"Manchester City are doing a fantastic job from the start of the season. Not only us, we are struggling to follow them. They are doing fantastic," Pochettino said.
"If we compare us with ourselves in the last few seasons we are so close in a similar situation, perhaps a bit better with us finishing top in our Champions League group, but another club like Manchester City they improve a lot and the gap is massive."
Tottenham's recent struggles in the Premier League have coincided with the absence of centre back Toby Alderweireld who was injured in the Champions League win against Real Madrid last month.
Pochettino said the Belgian international would be out for weeks rather than months, however, and refused to blame Alderweireld's absence for the slump in form.
"He doesn't need anything more than to work hard and have treatment now from medical staff," he said.
"He's on plan, on time and he's recovering well. We don't need to be worried because we avoid, and he avoids, an injury that could maybe keep him out for a long time.
"We finished at Watford with Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen and then we have Juan Foyth. We have different options. Ben Davies can play like a centre-back."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge)