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Friday 23 March 2018

Hard to adapt in new country - Poch

Spanish striker Roberto Soldado has struggled for goals this season
Spanish striker Roberto Soldado has struggled for goals this season

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is aware of the difficulties of settling in a new country and, much like striker Roberto Soldado, believes there is no set formula for getting it right.

Former Spurs man Gareth Bale has found himself in the media spotlight since a world-record £85.3million transfer to Real Madrid in September 2013.

And following a testing campaign, it has been suggested the Wales forward would be better returning to England.

Pochettino played in Spain for Espanyol - where he was also manager before taking over at Southampton in January 2013 - and feels acclimatisation to a new culture can be difficult for some while embraced by others.

"It is difficult to adapt when you are English and go to Spain," the Argentinian coach said.

"When you take your dinner at 10 o'clock it is impossible to sleep after. After your dinner - beef with pasta, it is heavy food; But you eat at seven and you have time to digest it, you can get to bed quickly because you ate earlier in the evening and you sleep very well.

"In Spain you take your lunch at three o'clock, then take your dinner at 10 o'clock. It is difficult to sleep because there are a lot of things to do. The weather is different. Spanish people invite you to go out from your home to parties. It is a different life.

"You need to adapt your body and mentality, and it is not easy.

"I remember Michael Owen found it very difficult to adapt at Real Madrid, not only for the football but outside of the pitch. For that it is not easy to adapt your game and lifestyle in Spain when you are English. For holidays it is fantastic."

Soldado joined Tottenham from Valencia in a £26million deal during August 2013, but has often struggled to hold down a regular starting place, with only five goals this season.

According to Pochettino, appointed Spurs manager a year ago, there are several explanations as to why he has found the going tough.

"There are many, many reasons - it is not always the culture," he said. "There is no one reason. Always I believe in my players and it is all in the head. You need to give them the opportunity to come back and recover their best level - why not?"

"In general it is not only Roberto. For you to have success in different places and different countries, you need to get used to your new country, the new culture, to settle into your new 'family', which is the club, the dressing room, your new team-mates, your manager.

"There are a lot of components that need to be in place for it to be a positive thing for you and for you to feel good.

"But there is not just one reason. It is not the chicken or the egg. It is a mix, and for that reason it is tough to explain every situation - whether it is Roberto, Bale or different players developing their game."

Earlier this week, Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor gave a lengthy insight into the complicated personal life which has at times overshadowed his career.

The 31-year-old has on occasions been given leave by Tottenham in order to attend to unspecified family business, which he elaborated on in an unprompted Facebook post.

Pochettino can understand the difficulties of keeping things together on the pitch when players have other issues on their minds.

"I hear he went onto Facebook, but I didn't read it. It is a personal issue and I will never explain anything in public about my players when it is personal," said the Spurs boss, who takes his side to Stoke on Saturday looking to maintain their push for Europa League qualification.

"If you have problems in your personal life, it always affects your performance. That is normal."

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