LONDON -- Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has said his players are having to work harder than ever before as they approach the busy festive period.
Spurs were the only Premier League club not to drop a point over Christmas and New Year last season, winning seven straight matches between Dec. 14 and Jan. 14.
Spurs are fourth, 11 points behind leaders Manchester City, but this year are playing their home games at Wembley on a pitch significantly bigger than the one they had at White Hart Lane.
And Pochettino believes that puts an additional strain on his squad, telling a news conference: "This season, we are beating our physical stats [from previous seasons], because when you play at Wembley you spend more energy."
Spurs host West Brom on Saturday, the first in a run of 11 games before Jan. 2, and the manager added: "We are one of the best teams today in terms of effort.
"But that always has an impact on your physical condition. For three years, we played at White Hart Lane, it was completely under control. It was high intensity.
"If you compare White Hart Lane to Wembley, the square metres changes a lot. The [amount of time with the] ball in play changes a lot.
"Today it's true that we are finding different stats, and of course we need to be careful and be right with how we assess and make our decisions in the next few months.
"The team has improved a lot in the physical stats, and now we need to see the effect over the Christmas period."
But Pochettino suggested there would be long-term benefits to playing at Wembley, adding: "It's new for us, but it's a very good test because we're going to play in the stadium we're building which will be similar to Wembley in the size of the pitch.
"Of course, it's a fantastic test for us this season to have a better idea for next season."
After last weekend's 2-0 derby defeat at North London rivals Arsenal, Spurs captain Hugo Lloris told his teammates to forget about catching City and instead focus on securing a top-four place.
Pochettino was wary of ruling out another title bid but said it was "crazy" to expect too much too soon from his side.
"Of course, if you came from Mars today and you arrived in the Premier League, you would say: 'Oh Tottenham, in the last two seasons, fights for the title. Why not fight to win the league again?' he said.
"Of course the team needs a title. If not, this is s---! But Hugo knows it is not easy to be a regular in the top four, like Arsenal did for 22 years.
"Hugo is realistic. Of course, he is the first who wants to win titles -- the Champions League, the Premier League, everything -- but he's 30 years old, and he's clever and realistic.
"He knows we need to settle the bases and -- when we are a team that is regular in the top four and we show we are real contenders for different reasons -- you know better than me and him to expect everything from Tottenham."
Pochettino added that "sometimes people become crazy to expect from us to be like Real Madrid or the best Barcelona -- the dream team," adding: Sometimes the reality is not related to the expectation."