Mauricio Pochettino has admitted Tottenham are struggling to cope with increased levels of expectation this season.
Spurs have won only two of their last eight Premier League matches and sit 10 points adrift of frontrunners Chelsea.
Pochettino’s men have the chance to close the gap before Christmas, however, with two plum home games to come against Hull on Wednesday and Burnley on Sunday.
Tottenham showed glimpses of a return to form last week in a 5-0 thrashing of Swansea and then a 3-1 win over CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.
Pochettino admits his side are still yet to find the rhythm of last season’s surprise title challenge but argues they remain in a similar position.
“It can be one possibility, that the expectation is higher,” Pochettino said.
“There are different aspects and maybe we didn’t cope with the expectation.
“But if we see the result, today after 15 games we have 27 points – last season I think it was 26, one point more than last season.
“Last season in that moment we had qualified for the next round of the Europa League and like now we are in the Europa League.
“We are in nearly the same position and last season it was ‘wow, Tottenham’. Today the expectation is higher and for that we feel a bit disappointed.
“Of course the Champions League was a big challenge and it disappointed a lot our fans, players and staff.
“That’s the feeling but if we are cold and analyse the numbers, they are similar to last season.”
Pochettino will be without Mousa Dembele against Hull as the Belgian has suffered a recurrence of a niggling foot injury.
Dembele struggles with pain on the top of his left foot and the problem flared up again after he took a kick during Sunday’s defeat to Manchester United.
“He will be out for tomorrow, we will see for Sunday, but for sure tomorrow he is not available,” Pochettino said. “He got a kick on his foot. It’s very painful now.”
Erik Lamela is back in training after returning on Monday from Argentina, where he was visiting his brother in hospital.
The Argentinian is unlikely to play against Hull or Burnley as he also recovers from a hip injury, but he could be available against Southampton in two weeks.
Vincent Janssen, however, remains sidelined with an ankle injury and is not expected to feature before January 2, when Tottenham travel to Watford.