Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino played down reports of unrest at Spurs, highlighting his invitation to a team dinner.

Pochettino's future has come into question following Tottenham's poor start to the season following their memorable run to the 2018-19 Champions League final.

There has been speculation that Tottenham players are unhappy with Pochettino's methods after just three wins from eight Premier League matches this term.

Spurs were also humiliated 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, while the club were stunned by League Two outfit Colchester United in the EFL Cup.

However, Pochettino said a dinner invitation from his players shows they are still behind him in London.

"When last week, you receive a text from the player inviting you and the coaching staff for a dinner only two things can happen," Pochettino said.

"Because they want to say goodbye. Or because they feel that they love you and they want to show that they are with you.

"And I think it's the second. They are not about to say goodbye to me. To say goodbye to me, say goodbye here. Not inviting me to dinner."

Tottenham host Watford on Saturday, with Spurs languishing in ninth position and 13 points off the pace.

Despite Tottenham's struggles and uncertainty over soon-to-be free agent Christian Eriksen, Pochettino is not expecting many departures or arrivals in January.

"I never was keen on January and I will not change now because it is a tough period or tough few games, I'm not going to change the way I think or see things," he said.

"We are not going to force anything because we believe the squad is a decent squad. Now we need to be strong our decision was right, because we are suffering a storm now we cannot now change quick.

"Now it's the time to be responsible. First me and then the players, everyone. My opinion, the way I love to work, is that when you take decisions in the summer and then you need to be responsible and then you need to find the way to make that work.

"For me, that's it. I am not talking about January with anyone. I told the players, for me, January is too far away. Because they know me, after five and a half years, that all the rumours and all the opinion, of course we need to respect all and we respect all, but what is going to happen sometimes is the complete opposite that people are saying."

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has been the best coach in the Premier League over the past four years, according to Watford counterpart Quique Sanchez Flores.

A run of three wins in Tottenham's opening 11 games of the campaign has led to questions being asked of Pochettino's future, just four months after guiding the club to the Champions League final.

Spurs suffered heavy defeats to Bayern Munich and Brighton and Hove Albion prior to the international break and return to action with a home match against Watford on Saturday.

Watford head coach Flores knows Pochettino well from their time playing in LaLiga and holds the Argentinian in high regard, claiming that he has outperformed the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp in recent times.

"I love him. He is the best coach in the Premier League in the last four years, in my opinion," Flores said at Thursday's pre-match news conference.

"When I was last at Watford I thought he was the best coach in the way he moved the team and the way the team played.

"Of course now it is a difficult moment for him and for the team, but for me he is the best coach in the last four years in the Premier League."

Tottenham have lost more games in all competitions in 2019 than any other Premier League side and are ninth in the top flight after eight games of the 2019-20 campaign.

Asked if he expects Pochettino to stay in charge of Tottenham for the long term, Sanchez added: "It is up to you, the critics, not me. It depends on the results. The results bring in the critics."

Mauricio Pochettino hailed stand-in Tottenham captain Harry Kane as a "natural leader" as he reflected on the England skipper's response to the racism row in Bulgaria.

Kane will take the Spurs armband in the absence of injured goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the coming months, while he is also England's captain.

The striker's role with the Three Lions put him at the forefront of the controversial Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia on Monday, which was twice stopped due to racist abuse from the crowd.

Kane stood by his team-mates as they followed UEFA's protocol and ultimately saw out a 6-0 win, later describing his pride at the way England players had acted in testing circumstances.

Pochettino, discussing Kane's more prominent Tottenham role on Thursday, said: "He's become a natural leader. He's great.

"His commitment, not only for Tottenham but the national team, is fantastic for England and Tottenham. We will miss Hugo for a few months and to have Harry to step up is important, like others who are important and mature.

"They will step up and handle problems when they happen like this. It's good to see how he behaved and of course he showed great maturity."

Asked specifically about the Bulgaria match, the Spurs boss added: "I'm going to respect players always. The way Harry behaved was top.

"The way he handled the situation on Monday was exemplary. He showed calm, followed the rules. We're so proud of how he behaved.

"But of course, when you're on the touchline, you need to understand the players always have rights and it's difficult to be in their position, know how they feel when they suffer abuse like this. That's why I will always support my players.

"Harry handled everything perfectly, I want to congratulate him. He was calm, the situation was always under control. He showed great maturity in these situations which are not always easy to manage."

As well as missing Lloris, Tottenham are waiting for news on star midfielder Christian Eriksen, who suffered a dead leg on international duty with Denmark.

Mauricio Pochettino's spirits were lifted during the international break, having felt "dead" after Tottenham's defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.

A difficult season for Spurs plunged new depths when they followed up a 7-2 humiliation at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on October 1 by losing 3-0 at Brighton in the Premier League four days later.

Pochettino was downbeat at the start of the international break, during which he travelled to the Aspire Global Summit in Qatar and addressed several ex-professionals.

But ahead of hosting Watford on Saturday, the former Southampton boss was able to consider a more positive outlook.

"We had an offer a few months ago to go to Aspire," he told a news conference. "I was talking there for one and a half hours, in front of 100 people, 50 clubs.

"All the big clubs in the world were there, ex-team-mates like [Santiago] Solari, Hernan Crespo, people I met like Tim Cahill - now I have a very good view of him, it was amazing to spend time with him.

"It was like a medicine. We flew at 8am on Sunday [after Brighton on the Saturday] and I was dead. Jesus [Perez, his assistant], too.

"We arrived and it was difficult to find the energy and then to talk about Tottenham and our ideas and philosophy and football. It was most difficult thing, but we found the energy.

"It was a football drama, not a life drama. We lose a few games. Most important is to not go away, most important is to face the problems and find a solution."

Despite a poor run that has left Tottenham ninth, Pochettino insists his faith in his players is unwavering.

"In this type of situation, the most important thing is to be all together and show a strong face to the problems," he said.

"Face the problems and talk a lot because the most important thing is that players feel support and trust from the manager. That belief is important.

"I trust 200 per cent in them and believe that they have the capacity and potential to win the games and turn this situation around. This type of situation happens at all clubs sooner or later.

"We have confidence that we have the quality. It is only a matter of time to make things clear. We need to help them perform because they are the principal actors on the pitch who will provide the victories."

London is still something of a home for Jose Mourinho and another job in the English capital could be on the horizon for the ex-Chelsea manager.

With Tottenham struggling for form and reports of discontent in the dressing room, Mauricio Pochettino's position is far from certain.

Mourinho has been out of a job since he was sacked by Manchester United in December and the Portuguese is reportedly waiting in the wings.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS SOUND OUT MOURINHO

Tottenham have made contact with Jose Mourinho amid uncertainty over manager Mauricio Pochettino, reports SoccerLink.

Pochettino's future in London is up in the air following Tottenham's poor start to the season, highlighted by a humiliating 7-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich.

While Pochettino is not facing the sack, Spurs have sounded out Mourinho about whether the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss would be interested.

 

ROUND-UP

- While Spurs target Mourinho, Manchester United appear to be closing in on Massimiliano Allegri. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggling at Old Trafford, the Daily Mail reports ex-Juventus boss Allegri is preparing for the job and wants Patrice Evra to join him in Manchester.

Real Madrid will play the waiting game for Kylian Mbappe as Marca claims the Spanish giants have set a 2021 target date of trying to sign the Paris Saint-Germain star.

- According to Le10Sport, Atletico Madrid will look to sign Paris Saint-Germain veteran Edinson Cavani to a pre-contract agreement in January. Cavani's deal runs out at season's end and the Uruguay striker has been linked to Juventus and incoming MLS franchise Inter Miami.

- ESPN FC says Manchester United are ready to spend during the January transfer window following their poor start to the campaign. United are languishing in 12th after the departures of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera.

Bayern Munich are tracking Freiburg star Luca Waldschmidt, claims Calciomercato. The 23-year-old forward made his debut for Germany this month.

- According to Tuttosport, AC Milan want €20million-rated Turkey international Mehmet Zeki Celik from Lille. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports the Rossoneri are also interested in a January move for Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny, who is on loan at Besiktas.

As pressure builds on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, there is speculation Manchester United are already looking around for future managers.

According to reports, one such potential candidate is a man making waves in the Bundesliga, now with RB Leipzig.

Even though Solskjaer appears to have the backing of United's hierarchy, the time might come to look to the future - just like the club's former manager Jose Mourinho, who has his eye on a comeback.

 

TOP STORY - UNITED CONSIDER NAGELSMANN

Manchester United are interested in Julian Nagelsmann as a future manager, according to the Daily Mail.

Just 32, Nagelsmann has impressed in the Bundesliga, initially with Hoffenheim and this season at RB Leipzig.

Although Ole Solskjaer still has support at the club despite their worst league start for 30 years, it is reported by the newspaper that United are "gathering information" on Nagelsmann with a view to a future approach to take charge of the first team.

ROUND-UP

- Jose Mourinho, is plotting a Premier League return and is keeping an eye on Mauricio Pochettino's situation at Tottenham, according to the Daily Mail.

- Whatever happens with the United manager job, transfer plans for next year are already being drawn up. The big names being eyed for next season are Kalidou Koulibaly and Declan RiceGoal reports.

- In Italy, Juventus have made it clear they will not sell Paulo Dybala in the January transfer window, Calciomercato says. Dybala was linked with United and Spurs in the previous window.

Gareth Bale, meanwhile, considers being left out of the Champions League draw with Club Brugge to be the final straw at Real Madrid, and he wants out next year, AS claims.

- Finally, in more news concerning United bosses of the past, the Mirror and the Daily Mail say there is a growing chance David Moyes could return to Everton if the under-fire Marco Silva is sacked, with the Scot now odds-on in some places to take charge again.

Tottenham will not sack Mauricio Pochettino "in a million years", according to their former manager Tim Sherwood.

Pochettino has presided over a torrid start to the campaign, which reached a new low over the past week with a 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League and a 3-0 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League.

That defeat to the Seagulls means Spurs are languishing ninth in the table, a whopping 13 points behind leaders Liverpool after just eight games.

Sherwood, who managed the club for five months before Pochettino's appointment in May 2014, believes the Argentinian's position is safe and remains confident he is the right man to get them back on track.

"Daniel Levy [Tottenham's chairman] is one of the most astute men in football; do you think he in his right mind will sack Mauricio Pochettino?" Sherwood said on talkSPORT.

"He has got so much credit in the bank with that football club. There is no way he will sack Mauricio Pochettino – not in a million years.

"Now if Mauricio decides he has had enough and he can take the club no further and he wants to move on to pastures new, then I still think he is mad to do that. I think he is the man for the job. I don't want to him leave. I love the guy, I love the football club.

"Everything is great [at Tottenham]. Everything is going brilliantly for Tottenham but they have to get over this bump in the road. Every club has it.

"I still believe they will qualify for the Champions League knockout stages and I still believe, at 5/4, it is great money for them to finish in the top four this season."

Tottenham's next game is at home to Watford after the international break on October 19.

Harry Winks concedes Tottenham are going through "dark times" but says the club's under-fire boss Mauricio Pochettino retains the squad's full support.

Tuesday's 7-2 humbling at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League was followed by a resounding 3-0 defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.

That result leaves the club languishing ninth in the league, with questions being asked about Pochettino's future just four months after he took them to the Champions League final.

Winks, who was introduced as a half-time substitute at the Amex Stadium, insists Pochettino is still the right man for the job, though, believing he is capable of turning their fortunes around.

"He's been fantastic ever since he's been at the club and taken the club to new heights," Winks told reporters. "At the moment we are going through a bit of a rough patch. That happens in football, every club goes through it.

"It's important we stand up as men and get through these dark times, and hopefully we can get back to playing well and winning as much as we can.

"In the last six years we have come such a long way, we have become a title-challenging side. But we haven't shown it this season, we have only shown it in parts.

"In certain games we have played really well but for the majority of this season we haven't shown what we are about.

"It's important we look back on it and reflect, realise it's not been good enough, no excuses. The only way we can put it right is back in training and the next match."

Tottenham are next in action at home to Watford on October 19.

Mauricio Pochettino reiterated his commitment to Tottenham and denied being concerned about his job status following another humbling defeat.

Last season's Champions League finalists ended a miserable week in deflating fashion at the Amex Stadium, losing 3-0 to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League.

Captain Hugo Lloris had to be taken off on a stretcher after suffering a serious arm injury when the goalkeeper fumbled a cross, stumbled backwards and gifted the Seagulls a third-minute lead.

Spurs never recovered from Neal Maupay's goal and the fresh wounds from their humiliating 7-2 loss to Bayern Munich were further deepened by teenager Aaron Connolly's double.

Pochettino last month admitted to grappling with an "unsettled squad" but, when quizzed on his own level of dedication, insisted nothing had changed.

The former Southampton boss was linked to Manchester United and Real Madrid at various stages last season and previously stated he would have considered quitting had Spurs won the Champions League in June.

"My commitment is there after five and a half years," Pochettino said after the Brighton loss.

"The pundits on the TV need to talk and give their opinions. From my position, I need to accept the criticism. It's not going to change my view the pundit.

"I know very well the business. The faith, the belief is there. I am so strong with that.

"Until the end I am always going to try to give my best. After that it is not my decision."

Saturday's defeat was Tottenham's fifth of the season and they have won only one of their past six games in all competitions, a run that includes being knocked out of the EFL Cup by League Two side Colchester United.

While claiming decisions over his future are beyond his control, Pochettino said the prospect of losing his job was not worth fretting about.

"I am not worried," he said. "What worries me is life, not football. Football is a game, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

"Maybe the last two games is a tough situation to accept but I'm not going to be a philosopher.

"What scares me is life, not football. Football is to be strong, to be brave, to take decisions and, of course, face up to things when they are not good.

"That's what we are going to do – face the negative things and try to work hard to change this dynamic."

Tottenham's 3-0 defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday condemned Spurs to a second successive loss with 10 goals conceded this week, piling the pressure on manager Mauricio Pochettino. 

Spurs were demolished 7-2 in their own stadium by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday, prompting further questions of Pochettino, who continues to be linked with a departure. 

Pochettino urged his team to produce a response at Brighton, telling his players to "man up" and put things right. 

But a Brighton side inspired by 19-year-old Aaron Connolly piled on the misery at the end of a crushing week for Spurs, with Pochettino appearing increasingly defeated and deflated. 

With the manager seemingly running out of ideas, we chart the highs and lows of his time at Spurs. 

LOW – The only way is up 

Tottenham's standing compared to the other big clubs at the start of Pochettino's tenure was laid bare in the first month of the new boss' debut campaign. Liverpool were the visitors, with Spurs hoping for the chance to make something of a statement, but Brendan Rodgers' men blew them away with ease by winning 3-0. It was Spurs' first loss under Pochettino and they went on to miss out on Champions League qualification by six points that term. 


LOW – Stamford Bridge implosion hands Leicester the title 

There was no denying Spurs' vast improvement between Pochettino's first few months and 2016 as they looked to challenge for a maiden Premier League title. However, their form at the end of the season saw them come up short, squandering a 2-0 lead at Chelsea in an ill-tempered encounter to come away with a 2-2 draw, therefore securing a famous success for Leicester City. Pochettino's men finished third, 10 points off the top. 


HIGH – Bidding farewell to White Hart Lane in style 

Having seemingly established themselves as top-four regulars, Spurs looked to further consolidate their new-found status by moving to an extravagant new stadium. In their final outing at the more modest White Hart Lane in May 2017, Spurs downed Manchester United 2-1. A glamourous new era seemed to be on the horizon, with Pochettino steering the Spurs ship expertly. 


HIGH – Spurs hit 13 goals in two games 

Spurs then finished that season in remarkable fashion, crushing Leicester City 6-1 and then going one better against relegated Hull City, winning 7-1 despite both games being away from home. Harry Kane was the star on both occasions, netting four at the King Power Stadium and a treble the following week. Those victories wrapped up a second-place finish in the Premier League. 


HIGH – Manchester United crushed at Old Trafford 

In August 2018, Pochettino was among the favourites to replace an under-fire Jose Mourinho at United and he helped inflict more misery on the Red Devils and make his pitch for the job with an emphatic 3-0 win at Old Trafford. Kane and a Lucas Moura double did the damage, making it the hosts' worst start to a league season since 1992-93. 


HIGH – VAR-ty time as Llorente steers Spurs past City 

Spurs' Champions League hopes appeared to be vanishing against Manchester City in April this year when, after winning 1-0 at home, they found themselves trailing 4-2 in the 59th minute despite earlier leading 2-1 on the night. Fernando Llorente then got what proved the vital goal – the ball striking him and going in, the goal standing even after a VAR check for an apparent handball. Raheem Sterling had no such luck, however, as his stoppage-time goal was disallowed by VAR for offside against Sergio Aguero. Pochettino's men survived a bonkers encounter to reach the last four. 


HIGH – Incredible turnaround secures first Champions League final 

Somehow Spurs managed another lucky escape in the semi-finals as well. A 1-0 defeat at home to Ajax in the first leg had them looking doomed, even more so when Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech made it 3-0 on aggregate in the first half of the return fixture in Amsterdam. But a remarkable Lucas Moura hat-trick in the second half sealed a vital 3-2 win in stoppage time and left Ajax devastated. Spurs were heading to Madrid. 


LOW – An underwhelming Champions League final 

Their first Champions League final – it was an historic occasion regardless of the result. Yet, there was an air of frustration at how they approached what proved a tepid contest, with fans bemoaning an apparent lack of attacking intent as a half-fit Harry Kane struggled to make an impact. Mohamed Salah's early penalty gave Pochettino's men an uphill struggle and Divock Origi wrapped things up late on. 


LOW – Battered by Bayern, swept aside at Brighton 

The worst week of Pochettino's reign? If the 7-2 demolition by Bayern Munich at home in the Champions League wasn't bad enough on its own, the embarrassment was exacerbated by the fact an Arsenal academy product – Serge Gnabry – scored four and he certainly milked the occasion. It was the first time Spurs had ever conceded seven at home in a major competition. Despite the pressure increasing on Pochettino, no response was forthcoming on Saturday as Brighton cruised past them 3-0 at the Amex Stadium. 

Mauricio Pochettino claimed the loss of Hugo Lloris to a serious arm injury had a major psychological impact on Tottenham in their chastening 3-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.

Spurs captain Lloris was given oxygen before being carried from the pitch on a stretcher during the opening stages of Saturday's clash at the Amex Stadium.

The goalkeeper suffered the injury when he spilled a routine cross, stumbled backwards and planted his left arm, which appeared to buckle as he steadied his fall.

Neal Maupay nodded home the loose ball at point-blank range and Brighton went on to add a further two through teenager Aaron Connolly.

The sight of Lloris in agony and a fifth defeat of the season in all competitions capped a demoralising week for Tottenham, who were hammered 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday.

"I think the news is not good," Pochettino said of the France international, who was taken to hospital.

"We have to wait, the club is going to explain the real situation. Everyone saw on the pitch when he landed that it wasn't a good situation."

He added: "Of course it affected the game. We cannot take the credit from Brighton, but the team suffered a massive impact from that action.

"We tried to find a different way to play in the second half and we didn't have much luck.

"At 3-0 you could see the game was over. I want to say sorry to the fans and thank them for their massive effort."

Tottenham, still seemingly scarred by the result in midweek, offered little resistance after falling behind as they limped to a first defeat to Brighton in 36 years.

Irish forward Connolly was particularly impressive, marking his maiden Premier League start with two well-taken goals either side of half-time.

Graham Potter praised the 19-year-old as he celebrated a pressure-relieving first victory since the opening weekend of the season.

"He's been knocking on the door," Potter told BT Sport when asked about Connolly.

"He's had some substitute appearances and been unlucky not to score. He gives us an extra dimension. I'm delighted for him.

"He's a young lad with a big future and we're delighted we've got him with us."

Tottenham have endured a miserable week but it is not time for Mauricio Pochettino to leave, according to former Spurs midfielder Gus Poyet.

Tottenham were thrashed 7-2 at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday and followed up that defeat with another dismal outing at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, going down 3-0.

Spurs ended last season in the Champions League final but were sixth in the Premier League at full-time against Brighton, having played a game more than the rest of the top half.

Pressure is building on manager Pochettino, who has not won a trophy with the club, yet Poyet believes it would be best for all involved if he is given the opportunity to turn Tottenham's fortunes around.

"I think he needs to stay. I don't think it's the moment," Poyet, who ended his playing career with the club in 2004, told the BBC World Service.

"I know Mauricio, I played against him in Spain. I know he's a fighter as well as an excellent manager. He's been showing that in the last few years.

"He wouldn't want to go now, not at all. He will want to make sure he gets everybody back in a good place, a happier place, to try to pick the best team to go and perform and, obviously, put the performance and the result behind [them].

"That's what everybody needs at Tottenham right now. These are bad times but, in football, we know things change very quickly. I am sure Mauricio is going to be ready to fight in this bad moment."

Spurs do not play again for a fortnight due to the international break, which Poyet thinks will be helpful as he claimed the players look "very, very worried".

"Normally, when you lose in a bad way, it's good to have a game straight away after two or three days," he said. "There's no time to reflect too much, just prepare the game and play.

"But it's happened too many times now. It's time to say, 'Woah, woah, woah, stop.' They can relax for a while.

"I'm sure some of the players are at least not going to come back from the international break very, very worried, because that's how they look now.

"Their faces on the pitch, when they make a pass and miss, you can see the players are very, very worried about the situation, which is natural.

"Sometimes that needs something external - not training all together again for two weeks, no double sessions getting even worse."

Tottenham crashed out of the EFL Cup last month when they lost on penalties to Colchester United, but Poyet still hopes to see Pochettino deliver silverware.

"I would love him to do it," he added. "I think he deserves to bring trophies - not just for the club but for him, for what he's done for the club.

"I said last season, when I thought everything was set for Spurs to win the Champions League, it looked like it was their year. Some players and especially Pochettino, who has been at Spurs for so long, deserve to win a trophy."

Tottenham's dismal week concluded in humiliating fashion on Saturday as Mauricio Pochettino's side slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Spurs' hopes of bouncing back from their 7-2 Champions League capitulation to Bayern Munich in midweek took a blow early on when Hugo Lloris' mistake gifted Neal Maupay the opener.

To further compound the visitors' misery, Lloris was subsequently taken off with an arm injury sustained as he landed awkwardly.

Aaron Connolly scored either side of half-time on his first Premier League start to secure a famous win for Brighton and one that leaves Tottenham with plenty to ponder heading into the international break.

Here we take a look at the best Opta facts from a shock result on the south coast.

17 - Tottenham have now lost 17 games in all competitions in 2019, more than any other Premier League side. Spurs have lost as many matches as they have won in this calendar year.

2 - Connolly is the first Irish teenager to score a Premier League double in over 20 years, with former Tottenham striker Robbie Keane having netted twice for Coventry City against Derby County in August 1999.

10 - Spurs have conceded 10 goals in their last two matches. It is the first time they have done so since December 1997, when they lost 6-1 to Chelsea before going down 4-0 to Coventry.

2:30 - Timed at two minutes and 30 seconds, Maupay's opener was Brighton's fastest goal in the Premier League.

100 - Youngster Connolly is the 100th player from the Republic of Ireland to score in the Premier League. The Republic of Ireland is now the fourth nation to have 100 or more different goalscorers in the league, along with England, France and Scotland.

8 - Lloris was taken off after eight minutes. It is the earliest a goalkeeper has been subbed off in a Premier League match since Lloris was replaced after four minutes in a match against Leicester City in March 2015.

Mauricio Pochettino insists Tottenham were right not to replace Kieran Trippier for this season despite preparing to line up with Moussa Sissoko at right-back.

Spurs allowed England international Trippier to leave for Atletico Madrid but opted not to bring in a new signing on the right side of defence.

Pochettino suggests he preferred to trust Serge Aurier, Kyle Walker-Peters and Juan Foyth, who has previously played centre-back and was injured in pre-season.

Aurier has been lining up in that role in recent weeks but was sent off against Southampton last week and endured a torrid time as Tottenham were beaten 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Pochettino explained: "Football is about circumstance and performance and form of the player.

"You have Kyle Walker-Peters, Serge Aurier, different players that you can use like Juan Foyth, who played there in the Copa America but got injured in pre-season.

"You need to see the squad and we have 11 players in the defensive line. I can tell you them.

"Aurier, Walker-Peters, Toby [Alderweireld], Davinson Sanchez, Foyth, Eric Dier, Ben Davies, Ryan Sessegnon, Japhet Tanganga, Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen. My answer is clear?"

Despite these options, it appears central midfielder Sissoko will start in defence at Brighton and Hove Albion, having replaced Aurier following his red card last time out in the Premier League.

"[Sissoko] played there against Southampton," Pochettino said. "When you assess the squad and options, it is clear that you will use the last feeling [you had].

"The last feeling is that Moussa Sissoko played one hour and he was the best playing there.

"If you watch the game against [Sofiane] Boufal and [Nathan] Redmond, he was unbelievable. The effort and how we used him.

"Serge is banned and, for different reasons, the form of other players maybe doesn't convince you and, of course, you use the feeling from last week. That is why I consider to play him there."

Pressure is building on Pochettino following the humbling home defeat to Bayern, yet he insists he has recovered from similar setbacks in his football career.

"I don't remember if I ever conceded seven before, but I lost 6-0, yes," he said. "I remember it was in January 1990, when Marcelo Bielsa was in charge of Newell's Old Boys. It was his second game.

"We were playing in the Copa Libertadores against San Lorenzo and the score was 6-0 – at home. Yes, it was really, really painful. It was similar to Bayern Munich.

"But that season we finished by winning the Premier League in Argentina. In six months, we completely changed the perception and sometimes these situations make you stronger."

Dele Alli remains a key player for Tottenham and will soon rediscover his best form after being overlooked for England selection, according to Mauricio Pochettino.

The 23-year-old has struggled for form and fitness in the early stages of 2019-20 and was left out of Gareth Southgate's 25-man squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

Alli came in for criticism for his performance as Tottenham were thrashed 7-2 by Bayern Munich in midweek and Southgate warned he faces a battle to win back his England place.

However, Tottenham boss Pochettino backed the midfielder to prove his worth once he has got some games under his belt.

"There's nothing wrong with him," Pochettino said at Friday's news conference. "You need to understand that football is about form, about some not so good periods. 

"Dele only needs time to recover his best performance. We're going to help him, provide all the tools and platform for him to recover his best way to play. 

"There's no doubt Dele is going to recover. He's in a tough period but we need him. He's a very important player for us. In time, we're going to recover the best Dele Alli."

Alli has featured in four of Tottenham's 10 matches this season and is in contention to start Saturday's trip to Brighton and Hove Albion.

Spurs will be without the suspended Serge Aurier at the Amex Stadium and Pochettino has suggested he may use Moussa Sissoko at right-back.

"We have a few options there," he said. "I think Moussa was very good playing one hour against Southampton with tough players like [Sofiane] Boufal and [Nathan] Redmond. 

"He did very well and that made me think a little bit that his option is bigger than another player."

Deadline-day signings Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon are also out of contention to play against Brighton, but both players are entering the late stages of rehabilitation and are closing in on a return.

Asked for an update on the pair, Pochettino said: "It is a long period that they have not been playing. We need to be careful. It is a little bit unlucky.

"They are two new signings that can provide new energy for the team."

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