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Mauricio Pochettino: “Spurs among the best in Europe”

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - Premier League

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 14: Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur shows appreciation to the fans during the closing ceremony after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on May 14, 2017 in London, England. Tottenham Hotspur are playing their last ever home match at White Hart Lane after their 112 year stay at the stadium. Spurs will play at Wembley Stadium next season with a move to a newly built stadium for the 2018-19 campaign. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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Mauricio Pochettino is not getting ahead of himself but he is aware Tottenham’s reputation is on the rise across Europe.

[ MORE: Champions League roundup ]

That’s natural after Spurs battered reigning European champs Real Madrid 3-1 at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday to secure a spot in the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League.

Speaking to reporters after a Dele Alli double and a Christian Eriksen goal beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Co., Pochettino believes Spurs “deserve to be among the best in Europe” and the Argentine coach was bullish about how far they can go.

“This sort of win brings with it certain consequences in making us more visible and people around Europe would have seen it,” Pochettino said. “We’re where we want to be and look forward to being well placed in the group and hopefully get a good draw in the next round. You’ve all seen today that Tottenham is a big team and we’re playing in front of 80,000 people.

“We’re showing Spurs deserve to be among the best not only in England but Europe. What’s important to me is that we’re in the next round, after last year. We were in a very difficult group. What’s important for us is that we’re going through a phase of consolidation and we’re able to compete with the biggest teams on a physical and mental level.”

He is spot on.

With Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich all having indifferent starts to life in the UCL this season, the likes of Tottenham, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are suddenly entering the argument that they are genuine contenders to win the Champions League.

After Harry Kane returned to full fitness, Spurs’ offense clicked against Real with Alli and Eriksen coming back to life and on their day it’s tough to argue that Tottenham can’t beat any team in Europe.

However, Pochettino did admit that there is one final hurdle for his Spurs side to get over.

“We must understand we are at a level of playing against the best teams, but to get to the next level we need to win things. Right now we are proud of winning this match but it means nothing if we don’t win something come the end of the season,” Pochettino added.

Tottenham are among the great entertainers in the Premier League and in Europe but until they pick up their first piece of silverware since the League Cup in 2008, they cannot silence their critics.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports