EPL

Pochettino: Tottenham players are still committed

By Sports Desk October 04, 2019

Mauricio Pochettino has no doubt that his Tottenham players remain fully committed to the club despite their troubled start to the campaign.

Tottenham have won just three of their 10 matches in all competitions this season and were thrashed 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Pochettino admitted last week his side's poor run of form could be down to an unsettled squad, with a number of players rumoured to have pushed for a move away during the close season.

Three days on from the home humiliation at the hands of Bayern, however, the Argentine coach shot down suggestions his players no longer care.

"I have no doubt the players want to always do their best to win," he said at Friday's news conference. 

"They play for themselves, for their families and then for the club and the coaching staff. I don't doubt their commitment."

Pochettino's own future has been called into question on the back of defeats to Leicester City, Colchester United and Bayern in the space of 10 days.

The 47-year-old, linked with the Manchester United and Real Madrid jobs earlier this year, has vowed to stay on for the duration of his deal.

"In five and a half years, every single press conference, we are talking about my future," said Pochettino, who signed a five-year contract extension in May 2018.

"I hope because we are still talking, it means that I am going to spend five years more here, at least.

"I accept the opinions. It is normal that the game has created a lot of opinions and rumours, everyone needs to talk. 

"But in the end, we only lost a game. We are going to find a way to be successful again, no doubt. We need to stay together."

Reflecting on the Bayern debacle - a record margin of defeat for an English team on home soil in Europe - Pochettino acknowledged his side need to quickly get the result out of their system.

Tottenham travel to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday and Pochettino said: "The Bayern game was really strange.

"After the first half nobody expected that result. Sometimes this happens in football and you just need to accept every single shot from Bayern Munich goes in the goal. 

"What can you do? Nothing. We must stay together. The result is tough but the most important thing is to stay calm and believe in our potential. 

"We need to bounce back from this defeat but it is only three points that we lost. We'll keep working. 

"In life this type of thing happens but we need to accept that it can happen. It is a tough moment but altogether we are going to be find a way to bounce back and win games."

Related items

  • Man City working with police over alleged racial abuse in derby as Solskjaer calls for action Man City working with police over alleged racial abuse in derby as Solskjaer calls for action

    Manchester City are working with police to investigate allegations of racial abuse after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said two Manchester United players were targeted in the derby.

    During the second half of United's 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium, the visitors' midfielder Fred seemed to be hit by an object thrown from the crowd as he prepared to take a corner.

    Lighters and a plastic bottle could be seen by the corner flag while television footage appeared to show a supporter making racist gestures in the direction of Brazil international Fred and his team-mate Jesse Lingard.

    Shortly after full-time, City released a statement saying they were investigating and threatened to issue life bans to any individual found to have committed racial abuse.

    "Manchester City FC are aware of a video circulating on social media which appears to show a supporter making racial gestures during the second half of the match against Manchester United this evening," their statement read.

    "Officials from the club are working with Greater Manchester Police in order to help them identify any individuals concerned and assist with their enquiries.

    "The club are also working with GMP regarding an instance of objects being thrown onto the field of play.
     
    "The club operates a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination of any kind, and anyone found guilty of racial abuse will be banned from the club for life."

    Solskjaer confirmed he had seen the incident and he too called for anyone found guilty of such abuse to be banned from grounds for life.

    "I've seen it on video, of course," he told Sky Sports.

    "Fred and Jesse in the corner taking coins from the City fans, first of all, so they've got to go away. Then there's this not-so-intelligent fella chanting racist abuse towards my two players.

    "I hope City and the authorities will deal with it because he shouldn't be watching football again, not live anyway.

    "We have to stamp it out. We keep talking about that every single week and it's not acceptable and he should not be allowed back into grounds. That's how simple it is."

    Lingard tweeted after the match in response to footage of the alleged incident, saying: "Not even this idiot can ruin tonight's feeling, shameful behaviour, it may be the derby but there is never ever a reason to be racist!"

    Anti-racism and discrimination organisation Kick It Out said it had "been inundated with reports of alleged racist abuse from a number of individuals" and called for "swift action" to identify those responsible.

    City boss Pep Guardiola added that he supported his club's pledge to take action.

    "I think the same as the club," he told Sky Sports.

    "I support the club. We are going to work to avoid it happening again."

  • Solskjaer salutes 'a Man Utd performance in my mould' after derby triumph Solskjaer salutes 'a Man Utd performance in my mould' after derby triumph

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw Manchester United produce a terrific derby victory and said that was how he had always envisaged his team playing.

    Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial fired United to a 2-1 win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

    Solskjaer told Sky Sports News: "It's a Man United performance in my mould - I love the boys going forward when there's a chance."

    It was a display comparable at times to how Alex Ferguson's great sides could pick apart defences at will, but Solskjaer is adamant this is a team of his own design.

    After a slow start to the season, his United have come alive over the past week, deservedly beating Jose Mourinho's Tottenham on Wednesday before crossing Manchester to pick off their neighbours.

    Their pace in attack left Pep Guardiola's City players standing at times, while Scott McTominay and Fred were impressive in anchoring the midfield.

    And Solskjaer was quick to point out their 2-0 lead after half an hour was far from flattering.

    He described the display as "fantastic", saying: "At the start of the game, we were exceptional, attacking every time we got the ball. It looked like we could carve them open every time.

    "We could have, should have been three, four, five up, really. That's testament to the boys because they played so well.

    "We were playing against, for me, the best coach in the world, the best team. It's so hard to play against them, players coming from everywhere, every angle.

    "We were brilliant in the first half, especially. First half an hour, excellent. Some great, quick, attacking football.

    "It wasn't just the direct ball or long ball. It was on the floor, quick transitions. I'm so pleased for the boys - they deserve it."

    Solskjaer, whose job looked to be under threat only a week ago, added: "Of course, there's a time today when we don't keep the ball as well as we could have. But we're away at the best team in the world, for me.

    "We're improving all the time. The boys are getting experiences to remember."

  • Solskjaer battles back from the brink to leave City's title defence in ruins Solskjaer battles back from the brink to leave City's title defence in ruins

    As the Christmas season unofficially began on December 1, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked anything but merry.

    Manchester United had been held to a 2-2 draw at home by promoted Aston Villa and the Red Devils' performance was utterly rancid for much of the game. Solskjaer appeared helpless at full-time.

    Ahead of a particularly bleak run of mid-winter fixtures, reports suggested Solskjaer could join Santa in expecting to be burdened with the sack for Christmas. Two games to save his job, some said, with Mauricio Pochettino looming large.

    Those two matches; Jose Mourinho's Tottenham and Manchester City in the derby – it wasn't the sleigh bells that were ringing. 

    Some might have been content with two points, yet they've managed to take six and left City's title defence in tatters after a 2-1 win over the champions.

    Much of the build-up was dominated by 'we're back' talk among both sets of supporters. City had crushed Burnley comprehensively, while United produced arguably their best display under Solskjaer in a 2-1 win over Tottenham.

    Saturday's performance left no such room for argument – it was undoubtedly the greatest of his tenure. 

    So much of the Norwegian's time at the helm has been mired by worryingly erratic form – one week they barely manage to salvage a draw against Villa, showing a concerning lack of desire, and then follow that up with a genuinely laudable performance at home to a resurgent Spurs.

    Such inconsistency has understandably led to questions over Solskjaer's game-management, with United frequently struggling against opposition that sit back despite boasting a solid record of only two defeats in 11 meetings with 'big-six' opponents and Leicester City before the derby.

    Solskjaer did little wrong on Saturday, however.

    A devastating first half an hour showed just how good this United team can be, particularly going forward.

    The fluid front three of Daniel James, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial was electric, while the much-maligned Jesse Lingard showed the kind of technique and drive not seen from him for a long, long time.

    United's strengths are by no means a secret – they are blessed with immense pace in attack and are at their best hitting teams on the counter.

    City fell into a trap entirely of United's making.

    The midfield pair of Scott McTominay and Fred sat extremely deep, while the front four also dropped well back, essentially becoming a second midfield. As such, the gap between United's defence and attack was often minimal, allowing them to break as a unit.

    The dynamism and agility of United's attack was plain to see for both goals – firstly Rashford driving into the box and winning the penalty that he converted, before James and Martial linked for the Frenchman's well-worked goal.

    But United's effectiveness was about more than just three players running really, really fast. Defensively they had several players who were imperious.

    Aaron Wan-Bissaka dealt with Raheem Sterling impressively, making five tackles and seven clearances in a fine display, while McTominay was similarly impressive. The Scotland international won possession back via three tackles, three interceptions and came out on top in 81.3 per cent of the 16 duels he was involved in.

    Added to that, Fred enjoyed his best match for United, creating two chances and showing a general awareness that could rarely be associated with the Brazilian previously. On this evidence, you can begin to understand why Pep Guardiola had been so keen to bring him to City.

    City's second-half desperation predictably saw United come under pressure and, for a moment it looked like the Red Devils would yet again cave and throw away a lead after Nicolas Otamendi pulled one back.

    But it wasn't to be.

    While reservations over Solskjaer's suitability for the role will remain as long as his team continue to falter against teams they should beat, there's no doubt in his ability to squeeze every last drop out of his players in the big games.

    And in the biggest of matches, United rose to the occasion to leave City 14 points adrift of the summit, their title hopes torn to shreds like so much festive wrapping paper. 

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.