Tuesday 20 March 2018

Pochettino pleads for patience in glory push

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino

David Hytner

Mauricio Pochettino says that patience must be the watchword in Tottenham Hotspur's quest to win a trophy - since they might not yet be ready to win silverware. The manager watched his team exit the Europa League on Thursday night against Gent and he acknowledged that the club's honours drought was something of a millstone.

Tottenham have won three trophies in the past 33 years - one FA Cup and two League Cups - and none since 2008 but Pochettino, who has overseen significant improvements since taking charge in May 2014, is confident that they are on the right path.

Pochettino considered the ongoing construction of the club's new stadium - which, it is hoped, will be ready for the start of the 2018-'19 season, and he used it - as a metaphor for the work that he is doing.

"We have pushed the expectations higher because last season, we were there - second, third in the league - and that is good," Pochettino said ahead of today's home game against Stoke City. "But my question is maybe we are not ready [in terms of trophies]. It's like the stadium: if we want to move today, we are not ready to play there. We need to wait, to build the foundations. It's always a problem, to be patient, to arrive.

"The important thing is the club. Our chairman has built the foundation - new facilities on the training ground, a new stadium to help to be a better team and a bigger club. We are on the way to building one of the best clubs in Europe. But we must be patient."

Pochettino wants to add quality in the summer in order to maintain the sense of momentum, although he stressed the need to be "clever". While the new stadium is being built, Tottenham do not have the same resources as the other clubs in the Premier League's top six.

"Football is about quality and being clever," Pochettino said. "It's always about improving. We must add quality to the team if we want to fight for big things. And we will try. It's our job to find the right profile and player that can play for us."

Meanwhile, Mark Hughes admits he cannot rule out Stoke being thumped by Tottenham once again this afternoon. But the Potters boss is confident his side are in much better shape now than the last time the teams met - Stoke have been thrashed 4-0 at home by Spurs in each of the last two meetings between the clubs. The most recent came in September during a sequence in which Hughes' team failed to win any of their opening seven Premier League games of the season, losing four of them.

They head today's clash at White Hart Lane with their previous six league matches having featured three victories - including a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last time out - and only one defeat. And Hughes said: "We have improved markedly since that game [in September]. "I would be very surprised if the result was the same - although there is a possibility, because they are a good side. But we'll have to make sure we play well to make sure that doesn't happen."

Stoke may well take encouragement from their recent record at Tottenham, which shows a 2-2 draw from early last term and a 2-1 victory on their visit in 2014-'15. "We had a good performance and result there last season and we need more of the same," Hughes added.

Third-placed Tottenham suffered their first defeat in 10 league games when they were beaten 2-0 at Liverpool on the same day Stoke beat Palace - February 11. Since then they have won 3-0 at Fulham in the FA Cup fifth round, with Harry Kane scoring a hat-trick, between two legs in the Europa League last 32 against Gent.

  • Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City, Sky Sports 1, 1.30

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