Tottenham Hotspur are flying high in the Premier League and are starting the second half of the season in fourth place, but within spitting distance of the top of the table. Ahead of Spurs' league match at Everton this Sunday, they got a strong affirmation of their title contention chances from an unlikely source: the Toffees' manager, Roberto Martinez.
"Why not? If anything this season is about consistency and whichever team is able to be consistent in the second half of the season will have a great opportunity to achieve a really, really good ending of the campaign.
Spurs have a strong squad, a large squad, they're competing in Europe. They've got a strong mentality as a group and I don't see them losing any sort of energy or focus over the next few months.
If anything, being such a young team, I expect them to grow even stronger. I see them as strong contenders for a really successful finish."
Confession: I really like Roberto Martinez, and he was my initial choice for Spurs manager after the club fired Harry Redknapp. Despite perhaps not yet achieving what he promised when becoming manager of Everton in 2013, I think he has a keen mind and good football opinions, so I consider this high praise.
Of course, to actually make a title run, Spurs are going to have to get a result against an Everton side that has excellent attacking talent in Romelu Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu, and Ross Barkley, but has underachieved in the table thanks to an extremely suspect defense and an underperforming John Stones. Sunday's match could come down to whether Spurs can convert their chances at Goodison Park while stopping (as much as possible) the league's joint second highest scoring leader.