Pochettino says Tottenham are like inferior Formula One car
Spurs not equipped to win title due to lack of transfer activity, says ‘disappointed’ manager
Tottenham’s Fernando Llorente celebrates with manager Mauricio Pochettino after scoring against Watford at Wembley on Wednesday. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
After being left “disappointed” by another transfer window without arrivals at Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino said his team are not equipped to be contenders to win the Premier League, comparing Spurs’ pursuit of Liverpool and Manchester City to competing in Formula One with an inferior car.
The manager insisted all the same that he was “happy trying to help the project of the club” and said his team would do their utmost to fulfil their unrealistic title dream.
Spurs have become the first team in the Premier League era to go two consecutive transfer windows without buying players, yet they are third and know that victory against Newcastle on Saturday would lift them, at least temporarily, above Manchester City and to within four points of the leaders, Liverpool.
You can be a winner but if you don’t have the tools to win, it’s difficult
“I wanted to strengthen the squad but if we cannot sign, I need to stick with the project of the club,” Pochettino said. “But of course [I am] disappointed, because we are in a very good position and maybe with help from some players we can remove the excuse that we are not a real contender. But we are there, we are close, in a very good position and we will fight to the end to be as high as we can.
“When you work in football, it’s because you want to win. When you are a player the only thing you want is to win. Sometimes the problem I have is I am too honest. It’s easy to be passionate and shout, ‘I am a winner,’ but no, no, no. You can be a winner but if you don’t have the tools to win, it’s difficult. If you have the car to win and you are good, then you win. If you have the same car as another who is good, then one is going to win and the other is going to lose.
“Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are the best drivers in Formula One. I follow Formula One, I love McLaren. But if you put Hamilton in McLaren and Alonso in Mercedes, it’s the same history: Hamilton on the bottom and Alonso on the top. That’s the reality. But do you think that’s a problem with Alonso or a problem with the car?
My responsibility is to manage persons, not chairs or sofas or furniture
Pochettino said he had decided to increase his forward options by welcoming back Vincent Janssen into the first-team fold. The Dutch striker, a flop since joining for £17 million in 2016, had been training with the under-23s since recovering from injury and hoped to leave in January. He attracted suitors but no club made a compelling enough offer.
“He is going to be involved with the first team, like another player with chances to be involved or play,” Pochettino said. “Before, it was clear, he wanted to leave and [was] not in our plan. My responsibility is to manage persons, not chairs or sofas or furniture. My decision is to have him involved; now he has to get fit and be competitive. Always he behaved well. Always respectful.”
Harry Kane returns to England this weekend after working on his fitness in the Bahamas. Pochettino said Kane is recovering well from an ankle ligament injury but was not prepared to bring forward the date of his return, slated for early March. “I cannot say whether he is ahead of schedule or not, we need to assess him day by day.”