If you're unfamiliar with the Europa League press routine, generally Mauricio Pochettino talks at a press conference and one or two other players are made available to the media to take questions. On Wednesday, Nabil Bentaleb got the honors, and he said more interesting things than most players do at these press conferences.
Ben Pearce of London 24 had some interesting quotes from the Algerian international. We won't get into what he says about Benjamin Stambouli, but he addresses that as well, so check out Pearce's article for more on that. Here's what he had to say about getting better and trying to break into the first team.
"The manager speaks to you all the time, he tells you what you do that's wrong and right. He takes you into his office and shows you what mistakes you made at the weekend and gives you something to work on, with your weaker points. I have to improve my passing, improve physically and get more mature on the pitch. I always come to training to improve and give everything when I step onto the training pitch. It's still the same mentality as when I was in the academy."
This is great to hear, both in regards to Bentaleb's attitude and Pochettino's coaching style. It's nice to know that Poche's working with talented young players directly and helping them concentrate on what they need to improve. It's also great to hear Bentaleb say that he needs to get better in quite a few different ways, and that he understands the importance of seriously working on that in training.
"Everyone wants to play in the Premier League, it's a big competition. But I take what I have to take and you have to prove to everyone that you're good enough to play in the Premier League. You have to think about the team, it's about getting the win."
Along the same lines, it's pretty mature of Bentaleb to both accept that he's second choice at the moment and that the manager has his reasons for that, but to say that he really wants to prove that he should become first choice, and that he knows he needs to make the most of the opportunities he gets in cups and Europa League.
Bentaleb might have a lot of work to do on his game to unseat Mousa Dembele or rise ahead of Ryan Mason in the pecking order, but he understands that. He sounds like he has the right combination of humility and confidence.