The ongoing narrative at Tottenham Hotspur continues to be one of upheaval and concern, especially after Spurs crashed out of the League Cup at Colchester, a club three divisions below them, on Tuesday.
But while Mauricio Pochettino says that the criticism levied at him and the club is valid and he needs to accept it, he also is insisting that there’s nothing seriously wrong inside the club. Speaking to reporters ahead of Saturday’s home match against Southampton, Spurs’ manager said that the issue is simply about winning, and that the implication from previous comments about fixing the club in January were lost somewhere in translation.
“We are united. We’re talking, trying to work harder, being strong. Of course, we understand football very well. We’re not young people managing a club like Tottenham who don’t know what’s going on. We know very well that when you don’t win it’s important to keep the balance and not be affected by rumors and things that can affect you in a negative way. Rather, to find a solution. That’s the experience we have to manage this situation and help the players to be free to perform.
“We need to create a good atmosphere and energy to recover the good way and start to win games. In the end, we’re not guilty of anything wrong. Only in some games we were leading, like Arsenal, Leicester and Olympiacos, we didn’t keep the result we expect. But the team is doing similar or better than last season in performances but the results are different.
“I do not escape my responsibility. Our responsibility is to keep calm, to work hard, be right in our assessment and help the players perform. We have quality players who are going to perform, for sure.”
After the Colchester result, Pochettino had implied about some lingering issues that could be fixed in the January transfer window. Most had interpreted those comments to be referring to (potentially) want-away players such as Christian Eriksen, Victor Wanyama, and Danny Rose who could yet leave the club when the window re-opens. However, when asked, Pochettino said that his comments were misinterpreted, and blamed himself for not communicating the nuances of what he was trying to say in English.
“Again, again, it’s how you consider my words and, sorry sometimes I use words that maybe means different or I want to translate some feelings that don’t arrive in the way I want to translate to you. But I am happy, with the squad that we have and now we need to perform with the squad we have. That responsibility is mine, to create that dynamic for us all to be together and start to perform in the way that we want.
“More than the performance it’s about not getting the results we wanted or expect. We were leading a lot of games and it’s not easy to have a positive result at a stadium like Manchester City’s. Look at what happened to all of the opponents after who visited there. It’s not easy to go there and be positive and take the draw and play well, or against Arsenal be 2-0 up and deserve to win the game but we draw.
“Against Leicester, of course they are doing well, we were better, and against Olympiacos where nobody one there or different clubs were there never won and for us 2-0, okay it’s a circumstance, different circumstances sometimes that are against you and it’s a situation you need to be tough and fight against that to give your best to change the dynamic, that negative dynamic which increases because it’s football and that’s what happens in the business when you don’t win and people expect you win.
“Of course the pressure and the atmosphere is going to change but our responsibility is to keep this bubble and not be affected by the comments. When they are so good it’s to stay calm and relaxed too.”
What nobody’s questioning is the fact that Saturday’s match is a massive one for Spurs if they want to turn around the outside perception of the club. Southampton are only one point behind Spurs in the table, and while it’s still early days dropping their second consecutive match and also second home match of the season to mid-table or lower opposition would be pretty a pretty catastrophic, especially with Bayern Munich coming to London the week following. Pochettino knows that the dismal mood surrounding the club can be ameliorated with a couple of solid wins, but it’d be super helpful if those wins would start coming, say, now.