What’s the latest on Harry Kane’s recovery?
Mauricio Pochettino: “We are happy with him, he is working very well, today he started to touch the ball a little bit and did some exercise with our sports scientists. We are happy because he is very positive and we are very positive. We need to assess him every day but for this week’s game he is not available. It’s about how his ankle reacts every day. Today we are happy because it’s going very well, we’ll see what happens.”
What about Toby Alderweireld?
Mauricio: “The scan was clear but he is still feeling pain in his leg. He is recovering well but we need to wait. Like Harry, he’s not available for the weekend but we are happy because it’s not a big, big issue. It was a very heavy knock on his leg, it’s still painful but we need to see how he reacts too.”
Are there any other injury problems ahead of Saturday?
Mauricio: “We need to assess Danny Rose tomorrow because he kicked an opponent against Bayer Leverkusen. His foot is bruised and we’ll see tomorrow if he’s available or not.”
Jan Vertonghen has said the squad is as strong as any in the Premier League. Do you agree with him?
Mauricio: “We have one of the best squads for mentality. We are very strong and I think the spirit is very important. Quality is always subjective because the people at other clubs, the players and their supporters always believe that they have a better squad. It’s important for me to hear that our players believe that we are stronger than others. The first thing to win is to believe and it’s good to hear that from the players. It’s important for us to believe that the squad is stronger than others.”
Do you think this next month will be the biggest test yet for the squad this season?
Mauricio: “For me, every game is a test, every game is the most important. We need to try to behave naturally. Always for us the game that we have ahead is key. It’s true that when you play a derby it’s always different, they are your sporting enemy, always the connotation is different for our fans and it’s always special but in the end the most important game is always the one we have ahead. It was West Brom, then it was Bayer Leverkusen and now it’s Bournemouth. For us it’s key to keep taking the three points.”
With the early kick-off, a win on Saturday would put Spurs top of the table. Does that give the players an added incentive to do well?
Mauricio: “It has to be a big motivation for us to finish the game, take the three points and be on top of the table. It’s impossible to play for a better place and because of that the atmosphere was very good on the training ground today. Our players are very conscious about that and it’s a good opportunity to see us on top of the table but first we need to win the game. In front of us we have a very good team and a great manager like Eddie Howe. It will be a very tough game.”
Bournemouth have a lot of English players – what do you think of their philosophy?
Mauricio: “In football you need to show your feeling, your way and your philosophy. With Bournemouth in this case I admire Eddie Howe, I like him a lot, we share a lot of values and principles and for that I’m happy to see how they develop their game and how they play. For me it will be a very exciting game and it will be nice to meet Eddie on Saturday.”
Is Vincent Janssen struggling to settle in?
Mauricio: “Always we need to give time. He’s young, he’s come in from the Netherlands and always the players that come from outside need time. He’s a striker that brings to the team different characteristics but I am happy with his behaviour, his professionalism and how he is playing. It’s true that we would be more happy if he scores, he would be too, but it’s a normal process. The most important thing is always to focus, try to improve and work hard. That is the best way to start to score in the game and for that we can only give time. It always happens in football but we are very happy with him.”
Do you think Vincent was a bit unlucky on Tuesday night after hitting the bar and having a goal disallowed?
Mauricio: “Yes, it happened sometimes in some periods with Harry and now with Janssen it’s the same. He’s a very good professional, he works very hard every day to try to score and play well. We are very happy with him. It’s only a natural process that he needs to go through and that is not a problem. He’s a good player, he was the top scorer in the Netherlands and we have no doubt about his quality.”
Have you noticed any frustration from him?
Mauricio: “Not frustration, more disappointment because a striker always likes to score and always it seems incomplete – if you play well but as a striker you don’t score it’s like there’s something missing, but he is happy and he wants to show that he has the quality to score. Maybe he puts a lot of pressure on himself but in the end we need to keep him calm and say ‘yes, good, don’t worry, work hard, keep going and be sure that you will score’.”