Saturday 18 August 2018

Pochettino foots £7k bill as Spurs make a meal of motivating troops

'After a third consecutive game at Wembley without a win, Pochettino stressed the importance of creating an atmosphere where players are willing to run themselves into the ground for each other.' Photo: Getty
'After a third consecutive game at Wembley without a win, Pochettino stressed the importance of creating an atmosphere where players are willing to run themselves into the ground for each other.' Photo: Getty

Jack Austin

When wins are proving hard to come by, how do you stop the rot? Extra training sessions? Drilling tactics into the minds of players until they are numb?

These are just two of the more common methods employed by Premier League managers, but Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino opted for a different method to the norm.

"Wednesday we had a dinner in a restaurant in London with all the staff and players and I paid the bill," Pochettino revealed.

Although it wasn't quite Argentinian steak - he opted to take the squad for Spanish and Australian instead - the wine from his home country, which Pochettino insisted was the best in the world, was flowing throughout as the players took the opportunity for a rare bonding session away from the pitch.

"Yeah, we always try to find the way to stay together out of the training ground because it is so different, all that happens is so different. But it is so difficult because here in England, it's difficult to find a day or night altogether.

"It's such a busy schedule that we have, we play every two-three days and then all are away for international break. Wednesday was a good day to stay altogether outside and laugh and share in a different atmosphere."

After a third consecutive game at Wembley without a win, Pochettino stressed the importance of creating an atmosphere where players are willing to run themselves into the ground for each other.

But rejected the suggestion he would take them to McDonald's to strengthen that bond, with the final bill totalling an eye-watering £7,000.

"No, no, no (not McDonald's). When I pay, I pay good! Good restaurant, good food, good wine," he added. "You need time to create a good dynamic. Not only tactics but outside too.

"That is important because you prefer to say, 'Tactical here in the morning or you prefer to go last night and put all the staff, the players and the chairman, too, in a restaurant'.

"That is tactics, too. It is so important, just as it is important to work on the pitch. To know better in between them, to speak in a different way. That creates links between them, emotion.

"And when you must fight in a competition, there's willingness to help more your team-mates and care more for your team-mates and care more for the gaffer that pays the bill!

"It's so important and we need time to engage everything, to have different alternatives to play and try to win. In the end, that's the principal objective."

Spurs visit West Ham today, with Hammers manager Slaven Bilic once again fighting to save his job.

It was less than five months ago, on May 5, when West Ham effectively killed Spurs' title challenge on a raucous Friday night at the London Stadium.

It was one of those Bilic performances when every man played above himself and they floored a team who were 28 points ahead of them.

Bilic is arguably the most intelligent, charismatic and persuasive manager in the Premier League. His great strength in the job, as he showed with Croatia, is motivation.

But the problem with motivational power is that it wears off. The basics of any team - structure, identity, a plan - have to endure regardless.

The evidence of Bilic's West Ham is that those basics barely exist. When Arsenal won 5-1 at the London Stadium last season, one of their players remarked afterwards that West Ham were the worst-organised Premier League team he had ever faced. The coaching staff at another big team have West Ham marked as tactically the worst side in the division.

More than two years into the Bilic reign, this can only come down to one man and his methods. (© Independent News Service)

West Ham Utd v Tottenham, live Sky Sports Prem League, 12.30

Irish Independent

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