Pochettino still believes he can take Tottenham to next level
Mauricio Pochettino insists he wants to be the man who tries to take Tottenham to the next level.
Pochettino has found himself under pressure after a difficult start to the season, which hit new depths on Tuesday when they lost to Sky Bet League Two club Colchester in the Carabao Cup.
The Argentinian, who has faced some calls to be sacked from irate supporters, has transformed Spurs into regular top-four Premier League finishers and memorably led them to the Champions League final last term having not signed a player for two transfer windows.
He spoke in the summer of starting a new chapter, calling on Spurs to “act like a big club”, but they are some way off the level of Manchester City and Liverpool.
Making that jump to the next step looks a difficult task, but it is one Pochettino wants to tackle.
“I believe yes and I hope yes,” he said. “If not you are going to see quickly.
“It’s hard. It’s hard. We are looking at different clubs that are in a different way to us.
“I don’t want to say or talk about names. Because I don’t like comparisons.
“But how tough it is to be in the last stage – it is difficult. Because it’s not only to be in the last stage, maybe you can appear there in some period, the most difficult thing is to keep this performance and be consistent.”
If Pochettino is under pressure then it does not appear to be coming from chairman Daniel Levy after the pair went to Milan together for the FIFA The Best football awards.
Pochettino insists that all is well between the two.
“We were together in Milan at the FIFA awards. He came with me, Jesus (Perez, assistant), my wife and (chief scout) Steve Hitchen,” he added.
“It was a very nice time to spend together and talk about many things.
“If we are not in a good way, we don’t have a good relationship to spend a day together. There’s no point if you don’t have a good relationship.”
Spurs have won only two games from eight this season and have thrown 2-0 leads away twice, not to mention their League Cup embarrassment this week.
But Pochettino reckons it is a fine line between success and failure, pointing to the disallowed goal at Leicester last week, which stopped them going 2-0 up in a game they ended up losing 2-1.
“I become more relaxed in these tough moments because in the end it’s only one result,” he said.
“Rather than losing the game against Leicester, which we deserved to win, three points more and we’re third and everyone is talking about fantastic season, performance, and wow – quality coaching staff and manager because with all the circumstances again we are performing in the best way and winning games.
“It’s only one game. Offside, 2-0 and the game over and we concede. The line is so thin.
“It can be one or another. In football it happens, you don’t get the luck you deserve.
“For us, it’s never give up, keep working hard. We are so confident because we have the quality to perform better and get the best results we can.
“Performances are not as bad as the feeling and atmosphere that we create. I’m sure we’ll start winning games and performing well.
“We only need time to find the solution.”
Despite his heroics in the job, transforming Tottenham into one of England’s elite clubs, some fans have been calling for his head this week.
Pochettino says that anything goes when it comes to the supporters.
“The fans are always right to criticise,” he said. “The fans are the only ones who you have to accept the criticism from and you cannot complain about that.
“They are right to express their feelings and emotions. The fans are emotional.
“The fans want to win always. The fans love the club, the fans love the players, the fans sometimes love the coaching staff and manager, sometimes.
“Of course you cannot say anything about the fans. The fans keep the game alive that is so beautiful.
“We are here because of them and that is why they can always give their opinion.”
Spurs will be aiming to get back on track with the visit of Southampton on Saturday.
They will be without Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon, due to respective hip and hamstring problems.