Sunday 19 November 2017

Mauricio Pochettino reveals why Alvaro Morata turned his back on a move to Tottenham

Alvaro Morata joined Chelsea last month...but he was a Tottenham target long ago
Alvaro Morata joined Chelsea last month...but he was a Tottenham target long ago
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has claimed striker Alvaro Morata turned down a move to Spurs because he did not want to be a back-up striker to Harry Kane.

After months of speculation linking him Morata with a move to Manchester United, the Spain striker left Real Madrid to join Chelsea in a £70m deal last month.

Now Pochettino has claimed he held talks with the striker two years ago, with Kane’s presence as Tottenham’s lead marksman blocking any potential move for Morata to the north London club.

“When we spoke he said to me: ‘Why do you want me if you have Harry Kane?’,” stated Pochettino of his conversation with Morata.

“You know? If I go to try to sign a striker, they will all say, ‘Uh, gaffer. You want me for what? To be on the bench? Because it’s Harry Kane, I can’t compete with Harry Kane’ or (other players cannot compete) with Hugo Lloris or Christian Eriksen.”

Pochettino was critical of Chelsea boss Antonio Conte after he claimed the striker he would want to sign more than any other would be Spurs forward Harry Kane and now the annoyance may be reversed, with Conte unlikely to be impressed by Pochettino’s suggestion he already has a better striker at his disposal.

Meanwhile, Pochettino has urged Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy to back him in the transfer market as he targets another push for the Premier League title this season, with Spurs the only English top flight club yet to make a major signing this summer.

“Right, now we need to win some trophies, no?” he said. “That is good, the pressure. I think it’s important to understand now that we need to be clever how we manage the expectation and how we need to put pressure on our own players.

“We understand that Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, [Eric] Dier, [Toby] Alderweireld are really good players. They want to win but need to feel the pressure a little bit to improve every season.

“If there’s no competition in behind it’s normal to drop your motivation, it’s normal to drop everything that you do. And then it’s difficult to win.

“Every season we need to be clever in how we bring more energy and make sure our main players are not in a comfortable situation – because if not it is normal in human beings,” Pochettino said.

“If some players arrive with different energy then it’s: ‘OK, come on, we need to push, we need to run, we need to do the same.’ That is the risk we will have in the future if we only keep 11 players.

“We are finding the balance because now is the moment to maybe refresh the team with some new faces – and it’s sure that will happen. In three years, my experience with Daniel has always been trying to find a player to improve. The difference is were they the right or wrong signing?”

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