Wednesday 18 September 2019

It's the worst feeling I've had in five years, admits Pochettino

Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino. AP Photo/Peter Dejong
Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino. AP Photo/Peter Dejong

Ian Baker

Mauricio Pochettino says he has reached his lowest point in nearly five years as Tottenham Hotspur manager.

The Argentine is unhappy that continued stadium delays have left Spurs at a disadvantage, compared to the rest of England's top six.

He has also had to put up with a difficult few months in which there were no summer signings and several players returned from World Cup duty fatigued.

Despite this, Pochettino has enjoyed his best start to a Premier League season with Tottenham, who have won seven of their first nine matches.

However, that has not stopped the 46-year-old presenting an extraordinarily bleak picture of the state of play ahead of a vital match against Manchester City tonight - again to take place at Wembley Stadium along with at least seven further matches after a return to White Hart Lane was postponed until January at the earliest.

"The season so far, it's strange because my feeling is the worst feeling I've had in the five years I've been here," he said.

"It's the worst, my feeling, but it's the best start ever for the club in the Premier League. It's strange, no? I am disappointed we are still waiting for the new stadium when the expectation was to be there at the beginning of the season.

"I don't know, many things happened in the summer, many things that make myself not in my best mood or best humour. I know I always have a good relationship with you [the press], but my feeling is not the best feeling. I had better feeling in previous seasons."

Pochettino believes his side have struggled to compete in the transfer market because the priority has been the new stadium and only when they return home will they be back on a level playing field.

"I don't have the answer how we are going to act when we are going to move there," he said.

"It is easy to see in the last few years how we act in front of the market, how we act in front of everything and how the other teams were acting. That is the difference.

"Everything is not perfect, but we are in a circumstance and a project that is completely different to another club, at the moment.

"But maybe when we arrive to the new stadium in the future we will be in the same project, or we are going to act the same as other teams are acting like Liverpool, City, United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

"It is my wish and I hope for the club, for the fans, for everyone to be available to fight in the same condition as the other clubs and show our real skills.

"The way we have been competing in the last few years, the frustration is massive because we have had less in every single aspect."

Tottenham's participation in this year's Champions League is nearly over after they could only draw 2-2 at PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, and that only heightened Pochettino's bad mood. The word "failure" continues to rankle with him.

"I think, like a team, we still didn't win nothing," he said.

"We fail, but we achieve. And of course, always when we arrive at like a final game, we always fail.

"It's about learning to compete. It's about learning to be better. It's about changing something we need to do different. Or maybe we are never going to learn because we have some quality but we cannot cross this level.

"I prefer to think that we will learn more and we need more time to improve as a team. Still we are not showing that level to be a real contender. Today we need to fix other problems and different circumstances that happen that don't help the team or the club to only be focused on winning titles.

"Sometimes people expect that we should be winning or we must win titles when the circumstances are not ideal."

Pochettino may be downbeat about his troubles at Tottenham, but he is looking forward to taking on Pep Guardiola and City tonight.

"I enjoy [watching them] a lot," he said. "I always enjoyed watching Barcelona under Guardiola, Bayern Munich, now at Manchester City.

"The first season they didn't win and now they are winning. For me, he's one of the best managers and I admire him a lot.

"I'm so happy he's here. Sometimes we can challenge him. It's good that they are here - Mourinho, Klopp, Emery and now Sarri.

"For me, today the Premier League is one of the best. It's so exciting to face the best managers in the world." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Tottenham v Manchester City, Sky Sports, 8.0.

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