‘We are competing in same race… but with different tools,’ says Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino

0
5
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has a special bond with the players at the club


When Harry Kane dropped in on Mauricio Pochettino’s office at Tottenham’s training ground after the World Cup his manager was ready to congratulate him.

The England striker, who scored a tournament-best six goals during a faith-restoring run to the semi-finals, was having none of it. ‘No gaffer,’ he said. ‘I am really disappointed — I should have scored more goals.’

Recalling a slightly surreal five hours in Enfield, Pochettino — speaking in Minneapolis at the end of Spurs’ US tour — says he moved quickly to console the 25-year-old. ‘I told him, “You won the Golden Boot!” But he said scoring six goals and reaching the semi-finals was not enough.’

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has a special bond with the players at the club

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has a special bond with the players at the club

Pochettino has been able to rely on his players in big games in the Premier League and Europe

Pochettino has been able to rely on his players in big games in the Premier League and Europe

Pochettino has been able to rely on his players in big games in the Premier League and Europe

Kane would not have been fishing for compliments, but what he was saying was music to the Argentine’s ears. ‘That is why I love him,’ Pochettino adds of his star, who returned to training on Monday ahead of Saturday’s opener at Newcastle.

‘I love his energy and desire. For him it is not enough to finish fourth in the World Cup or second or third in the Premier League.’

Pochettino invests huge amounts of time in his charges, building them not only as players but as people. A family man, he has a strong moral compass. Kane did not have to visit his manager so soon after the World Cup but he did the right thing.

Tottenham's players are busy preparing for the new season and are craving success

Tottenham's players are busy preparing for the new season and are craving success

Tottenham’s players are busy preparing for the new season and are craving success

‘I love it when a player thinks like this and wants to come in and spend time with us after playing for so long in the World Cup,’ Pochettino says. ‘It is so Harry.’

Like player, like manager. Kane’s attitude to winning the Golden Boot mirrors that of his workaholic boss. There can be a misconception about Pochettino. That qualifying for the Champions League, which he has now achieved three seasons in a row, is viewed as success.

Critics will point out that he is yet to win a trophy. Those achievements came on the back of a four-year net spend of around £50million. In the same period, the figure for both Manchester clubs is more than 10 times that amount. And yet the top four is not enough. ‘If some people believe the manager of Tottenham doesn’t want to win they are not right in their minds,’ Pochettino says.

Kieran Trippier is one of the English players who have formed a strong core at Tottenham

Kieran Trippier is one of the English players who have formed a strong core at Tottenham

Kieran Trippier is one of the English players who have formed a strong core at Tottenham

‘I’m here to win. The reality is to win and to have the argument about whether you have the tools to win is a different matter. We have had massive success at the club, getting Champions League for a third year in a row.

‘But maybe that is not enough and maybe we need to change certain things because for me it is not enough. I want to challenge and fight to win things until the end, that moment when my chairman Daniel Levy says to me, “Mauricio go home and find another project”.’ 

This feels like a message to the chairman, who has done well to tie down the club’s top names, including Kane, to new contracts but who has so far failed to add to last season’s squad.

Pochettino wants to be able to compete at the top of the Premier League table this season

Pochettino wants to be able to compete at the top of the Premier League table this season

Pochettino wants to be able to compete at the top of the Premier League table this season

The Tottenham boss is going into his fifth season as the manager of the north London club

The Tottenham boss is going into his fifth season as the manager of the north London club

The Tottenham boss is going into his fifth season as the manager of the north London club

Some believe that the pending move to the new £850m stadium has had an impact. Club officials dispute this but Pochettino acknowledges his employers do things differently.

‘Winning is my concern and I feel responsible for this after four years with the club to try to achieve this,’ he says. ‘Maybe our history and the reality is different, but the players are fighting and working so hard and we are there with them. To compete at that level and challenge the big sides that have focused on improving their teams, while the reality for us has been improving our facilities, such as building the training ground and new stadium, I think it is not fair to compare us with these kind of clubs.’

He is right. But this is the unforgiving Premier League and people will make those comparisons, not least Tottenham’s own supporters. ‘We are competing in the same race but in a different way,’ Pochettino admits.

He is a resourceful soul because he has had to be. Espanyol, Southampton and Spurs are not known for hurling cash at problems. While much can and maybe will happen between now and Thursday’s closing of the transfer window, Pochettino is ready to get creative again.

Pochettino has been able to create a relaxed atmosphere in the Tottenham dressing room

Pochettino has been able to create a relaxed atmosphere in the Tottenham dressing room

Pochettino has been able to create a relaxed atmosphere in the Tottenham dressing room

But he still expects results and this season will be a big test of players such as Dele Alli

But he still expects results and this season will be a big test of players such as Dele Alli

But he still expects results and this season will be a big test of players such as Dele Alli

‘In football all can happen,’ he says. ‘We have come close but our opponents are at a level where every year they improve. We will keep pushing with different energy and different tools.’

One of those tools will be the club’s youngsters. The tour of the US was tough. An unfortunate run of injuries has been exacerbated by issues with Vincent Wanyama, Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko. The lack of World Cup stars present also led to the use of Luke Amos (21), George Marsh (19) and Oliver Skipp (17), all of whom have impressed.

Pochettino has been delighted with what he has seen in wins over Roma and AC Milan and a penalty defeat by Barcelona. ‘I feel so happy,’ he says. ‘The future of the club is bright with the young players we have.

‘Without the World Cup players in the team, for them to keep going in that way shows this is not the point to be worried because I think we are going to improve the team. It meant we were able to give game-time to the young ones and that experience you cannot gain in one year training with the first team — three games in 10 days and that level of competition.’

While he would hate to admit it, if he does end up having to use those youngsters and grabs another top-four spot, this could be his greatest achievement yet.

(function() {
var _fbq = window._fbq || (window._fbq = []);
if (!_fbq.loaded) {
var fbds = document.createElement(‘script’);
fbds.async = true;
fbds.src = “http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbds.js”;
var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0];
s.parentNode.insertBefore(fbds, s);
_fbq.loaded = true;
}
_fbq.push([‘addPixelId’, ‘1401367413466420’]);
})();
window._fbq = window._fbq || [];
window._fbq.push([“track”, “PixelInitialized”, {}]);



Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here