Wednesday 23 October 2019

Too early to talk about Premier League contenders, says Pochettino

The Tottenham boss refused to speculate whether next opponents Leicester would break into the top six.

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers is the bookies favourites to replace Mauricio Pochettino if he leaves Tottenham (Peter Byrne/PA).
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers is the bookies favourites to replace Mauricio Pochettino if he leaves Tottenham (Peter Byrne/PA).

By George Sessions, PA

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino feels it is too early to talk about contenders in the Premier League with the new campaign only five games old.

Ahead of Saturday’s lunchtime fixture at Leicester, the Argentinian was asked whether the Foxes can break into the top six.

Brendan Rodgers took over at the King Power Stadium in February and has steadied Leicester and got them playing attractive football, which has led some to tipping them to qualify for Europe this season.

“We will see,” Pochettino said. “It’s too early to talk about contenders and what will happen in the future. Still all the teams are finding their best.

Tottenham have been inconsistent in the Premier League this season, but sit third in the table (Yui Mok/PA).

“We only play five games in the Premier League. Until you play between 10 and 15 games, it’s difficult to see what will happen and the real contenders, teams who are going to be serious contenders. It is still so early.”

Pochettino, despite not talking up Leicester’s chances of threatening the big six monopoly, was full of praise for Rodgers’ side.

He said: “In the Premier League we know each other really well. Leicester is a very good team with a lot of unbelievable players.

“After winning the Premier League they rebuild their squad and are doing fantastic with a great manager like Brendan Rodgers, who I know very well. They are doing a fantastic job.”

The Spurs boss will hope his team can start strongly on Saturday after a sluggish opening 45 at Olympiacos on Wednesday.

Pochettino’s men had to settle for a point after a 2-2 draw in the Champions League Group B opener with Christian Eriksen’s display criticised.

But his manager said: “I am happy with the performance. Maybe (Wednesday) wasn’t his best game, like the team.

“The collective performance wasn’t the best from us. I am happy with the commitment of Christian, he ran a lot and was very committed with the team, the effort but I think I am not concerned about him.”

Christian Eriksen (right) was expected to leave Spurs in the summer transfer window (Yui Mok/PA).

Dele Alli made his first start of the season in Athens and just his second appearance this term after a hamstring injury, but Pochettino called for patience with the England international.

He concluded: “Dele is a different situation from Christian. He got injured from the beginning of the season.

“I think it was his first start. He needs time to recover his best feeling. I am happy with him too, his performance, effort, only he needs time.”

PA Media

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