Mauricio Pochettino says it could take between five and 10 years for Tottenham to develop the mentality to legitimately push for the Premier League title.
Spurs fell 2-1 to Burnley over the weekend and now sit six points behind league-leaders Liverpool and five points behind Manchester City.
After the loss, Pochettino admitted that the defeat likely ended the club’s title hopes this season.
And now the manager says that it could take an even longer time to develop the mental strength to truly compete with the elite.
“If you want to be a real contender, playing well or not, it’s (the game against Burnley) a must-win,” Pochettino said.
“You need to show you are fighting for big things and I am frustrated because we didn’t show the same energy as Burnley, the same attitude as Burnley, the same ambition as Burnley.
“We have to look at ourselves and maybe assess ourselves in different ways – we are not looking for excuses.
“It is holding us back and it might take five years’ work, 10 years’ work to change that.”
Tottenham is set to face Chelsea on Wednesday as the Blues look to rebound from Sunday’s Carabao Cup final loss to Manchester City, a match headlined by Kepa Arrizabalaga’s refusal to come out in extra time.
Chelsea are sure to be extra motivated for the match, and Pochettino insists that his side will also bring the right mentality to Wednesday’s clash.