Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham Hotspur’s defeat at Watford is a “very good wake-up call” and admitted his side will not contend for the Premier League title if they let winning positions slip in the manner they did at Vicarage Road.

Spurs looked set to make it four wins from four when a Lucas Moura cut-back was put through his own net by Abdoulaye Doucoure, but the visitors proceeded to let that winning position as they were undone by two Jose Holebas set-pieces converted by the heads of Craig Cathcart and Troy Deeney.

The Tottenham boss said: “It’s so painful because after (Monday’s 3-0 win at) Manchester United I told you I was disappointed with the performance, but today, of course, it’s so painful to concede two goals like this.

“It’s so difficult to understand because I think we controlled the game in the first 45 minutes but to play football, to compete, the game looks easy because Watford were poor in the opening 45 minutes and we are going to score. But when you score, you keep going in the same way, but we changed. We started to play long ball and then we concede two goals that if you want to be a contender you cannot concede.

“I think it’s a very good wake-up call for everyone and to listen more to the people who talk about the reality and not the perception. It’s good to compare because people talk about the perception but the reality was on the pitch and the reality is if you want to be a contender, today you need to win and win easy because everything was ready to win the game. It’s painful but I am not upset. I was more upset after Monday.”