First of all, welcome to Spurs. You’ve started pre-season training with the players, how have the first few days been?
First of all, it’s an absolute honour to be here. I’ve felt great warmth from everyone. I’ve been well received by the staff and it’s the right set-up and environment for us to go through what we want to achieve this season. So, the first few days as you can imagine were very active, but extremely gratifying, to feel that everyone is excited to come back and it’s important for us to get the most input from them as we look forward to the future.
You have said that you are ‘privileged’ to come here as our new Head Coach. Can you expand on that?
Tottenham is a team of great tradition and one of teams that, at this moment, is aiming towards even more success. The distance we have to take to reach success is very short, thankfully because of the work that has been done in the past, which is quality work not only from the previous management, but also the chairman and his vision for the future.
That is important as we build up solidly. We want to mix titles, winning ambitions and winning habits into Tottenham and make sure we bridge that difference and finally get it on the next years coming.
You’ve sat down with the board and discussed the direction the Club wants to go. Tell us more about that vision for the future.
It’s all very well put together for the last five years and looking into the future - there is going to be a new training ground that we will move in to that soon and it will be a massive step for this football club, as you can imagine. We get to a top level in terms of facilities and in the end, it’s the right step towards putting everything available for our players and our Academy, so we can nurture and make their potential to flourish even more. This is one of the major steps for the season.
Of course, putting the team together is of massive importance and also providing them with everything that we have available. It’s important they feel at home and feel the excitement that’s around. Looking also into the future, we have the new stadium project and we have this feeling, mainly from last season, where we know we are very near in terms of winning trophies. We go into four competitions next season and we go into them with the maximum ambition of trying to win them. I think taking this step is something very decisive, shows straight away our commitment towards winning titles and creates the right winning mentality towards the future to take the club forward.
Your first season in the Premier League started successfully but didn’t have the happiest of endings. Do you feel you have a point to prove?
The experience was extremely gratifying, not professionally in terms of success, but it was an experience that made me a better coach now than I was at Chelsea. I think as you go past different clubs and experiences you always get something out of them, it moulds you into the professional you are now. In that sense, I think I’m a much better professional now than I was before. In the end, you can never use the fact that things went wrong before to prove a point.
I think my career has been steadily going up and I see this as a step forward. The club is very solid in the way they support the first team, there is much more emotional warmth in this Club, and this is important. Based on that I want to commit myself to the fact that I was given this opportunity at such an important club and make sure I repay the confidence that was given to me to lead this club forward.
These are exciting times for the club, including moving into our fantastic new Training Centre. What are your thoughts on working in such a facility?
It’s important because players feel the organisation, feel the dimension of the club and where the club wants to arrive. It’s obviously a massive step up for the club and a big change in terms of the dynamics of the way we go about our business. They will be provided with top nutrition, top treatment and top facilities and we know we are able to win titles for the club.
For that to happen you have to shorten that distance to the top and shorten that distance to the European clubs and what they do. Most of them have top-quality conditions available for them. On that sense I think that the players, by seeing the attention and the effort that was put together by the club, the chairman and the board, they will understand the demand that is being put on them not in terms of pressure, but what we want to achieve all together.
What are your plans for pre-season and your thoughts on our tour to America, with friendlies with LA, Liverpool and New York?
As we know, it’s a pre-season that starts without a couple of players due to international duty, a couple of them still to return, but this group of players has worked really well in the first two days. I’ve great first impressions because you can see the commitment is there and that’s what we want to bring into the season. They have been excellent professionals in the way they have put in the effort for us and the level of intensity has been very, very high.
As we go to America, the players will arrive, we will continue to work with them try to achieve provide optimum fitness levels and optimum performance levels so we are ready for Newcastle on August 18th.