Pochettino confident Tottenham players retain faith in his stewardship
Manager insists the current squad have the ability to end recent slump
Mauricio Pochettino: “The most important thing is how you feel inside. We hope we are going to turn it around.” Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP
Mauricio Pochettino says he retains the love and support of his Tottenham players – and he has the dinner date to prove it.
The manager cut an embattled figure before the international break after his team followed the 7-2 humiliation at home to Bayern Munich with a 3-0 slump at Brighton.
Pochettino’s ability to motivate the dressing room in year six of his tenure has been questioned, with some worrying he has reached the end of the cycle. Spurs have won only three games this season and they looked broken during a harrowing afternoon at Brighton. They can ill-afford anything other than victory in Saturday’s home fixture with Watford.
But Pochettino has no concerns about the level of unity behind the scenes and he pointed towards a team bonding meal that has been arranged for next week – and to which he has been invited – as evidence of it.
“When you receive a text from the players inviting you and the coaching staff for a dinner – only two things can happen,” Pochettino said. “It’s because they want to say goodbye. Or because they feel that they love you and they want to show that they are with you. I think it’s the second. They are not about to say goodbye to me. To say goodbye to me, say goodbye here! Not invite me to dinner.
“Is there a cable that connects all the people or is the cable cut at some point and you see that it doesn’t work? The most important is that. When the players have returned [from international duty], you feel the energy and it’s because something special has happened [at the club].”
The freshness of Pochettino’s squad has been held up for scrutiny, sometimes by the manager himself, after a lack of signings in recent windows.
Although Tanguy Ndombélé, Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani Lo Celso arrived last summer, they were the first new faces since January 2018 and it was certainly an unusual move when the club brought back the 35-year-old goalkeeper Michel Vorm on Monday.
Vorm had left in search of a new challenge at the end of last season only not to find one and remain a free agent. Spurs have given him a contract until the end of the season after Hugo Lloris dislocated an elbow at Brighton. There have been calls for Pochettino to strengthen the squad in January but he says he still has faith in the squad he has assembled for the season.
“No, I don’t believe [there will be changes in January],” Pochettino said. “I believe in the players we have. If it is my decision, I am going to stick with the players because I know they have the quality. It’s only to unlock some situation that is going on in their minds.
“I never was keen on January and I will not change now because it is a tough period. The most important [thing] is to stay together. Some circumstances can arise in December and January and you need to take some decisions but we are not going to force nothing. We decided that the squad was decent and now we have to be strong that our decision was right. We cannot change quickly because we are suffering a storm.
“Now is not a point to talk about January and refreshing the team. It is about trying to find solutions. I am not talking about January with anyone. I told the players: ‘For me, January is too far away’.
“You can accept the word ‘crisis’ when you lose two games in the way we did. Or you can use a different word. The most important thing is how you feel inside. We hope we are going to turn it around.”
Christian Eriksen is a doubt for the Watford game after he suffered a dead leg on Denmark duty against Switzerland.