Wednesday 17 July 2019

This will be my toughest season - Pochettino

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA

Matt Law

Mauricio Pochettino has no regrets over signing his new Tottenham Hotspur contract, despite believing that this promises to be his hardest season as manager of the club.

Since he agreed a five-year deal worth up to £8.5 million a year, Spurs have failed to sign a single player in the summer transfer window and have delayed the opening of their new stadium.

The Real Madrid job became available just a week after Pochettino's new contract was announced, while the Argentine was Chelsea's first choice to succeed Antonio Conte ahead of Maurizio Sarri, who eventually got the job.

But Pochettino insists he was well aware of the potential challenges ahead when he signed his contract in May and wanted to stand on "the frontline" with chairman Daniel Levy.

"I am very grateful to the club, to the fans and to Daniel Levy," said Pochettino. "When you are in a difficult situation, this is the moment when you need to show that you are there.

"It is easy when everything is good to be there, but when the winter is coming it's easy to run away. I want to be there on the frontline, fighting and trying to win.

"I feel the responsibility to be here and that is why I am. And then because I am happy and I think Tottenham gave us, all the staff, a lot of things that always we will be grateful for. It was a moment to say, 'We are going to be with you all, fighting in the circumstances' because we knew what was going to happen."

Asked whether the failure to add to his squad, together with the uncertainty over when the club would move into the new stadium and the fact so many of his players were away at the World Cup, makes this season the hardest of Pochettino's time at Tottenham, he replied: "I think, yes.

"For everything, for me, it will be the toughest season and I think if we want success we have to give more than our best. It's not enough 100 per cent, it's 200 per cent. We know from inside that it will be hard, the season, and because we are warriors we want to fight.

"We want to be proud at the end, we want success and we do not want to complain or make excuses. I am a winner and I love the challenge, so that is why I feel full of energy. We want to go again."


The Manchester City game, scheduled for Sunday, October 28, presents a potential problem for Tottenham if the new stadium cannot be finished in time as Wembley will be hosting an NFL fixture between Philadelphia Eagles and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Pochettino effectively ruled out the prospect of Tottenham playing the game at an alternative venue to the new stadium or Wembley and conceded he and his squad may have to accept they will be forced to fulfil the City fixture on a heavily cut-up pitch 24 hours after the NFL game.

"At the moment, I cannot say we are not going to play this game at our new stadium," said Pochettino, whose team face Fulham at Wembley tomorrow. "If you ask me if we can't play in the new stadium, we need to find a way to play at Wembley. To play in another place, three stadiums in one season, would be too much. Maybe we need to adapt, the day after the NFL game, maybe the pitch is not in the best condition, but we need to make the effort and to play because to find another date would be difficult.

"I am a person who is always positive. Rather than complain about a thing you cannot change, I try to find a solution to help the performance in the best way."

Apart from Tottenham's stadium issues, Pochettino also claimed he is still trying to find solutions for the players, including Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele, who wanted to leave during the summer.

"If we want to step up and move on and not just be a contender, we need commitment from everyone," said Pochettino.

"Our only objective is to perform and win games. Accept rules, accept decisions, and accept discipline. Maybe, yes, someone will leave. If the situation changes tomorrow, we are going to adapt. I want to see the players here are ready to commit to January." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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