Are you ready for the start of the season?
Mauricio Pochettino: “Yes, we are ready. I think we are in a very good way and I am very happy with my players’ behaviour during pre-season, I am very happy with the players who arrived late that were involved in the Euros and now it’s about delivering our energy in the way that we play. It’s a good opportunity on Saturday against Everton against a very good team with a new manager. We have ahead an exciting season.”
Has the disappointment from the end of last season gone now?
Mauricio: “Yes, of course. In the time that we shared all together after Australia we needed a lot of meetings to talk through different things. It’s true that at the end of the season we all felt disappointed in the way that we finished the Premier League but if we are clever we need to improve on our mistakes. We need to show that we are clever. It’s a good opportunity to keep the same team, the same players. I think there is not a lot of change in the changing room and in the squad and I think that can help us.”
Are you expecting a response from the players after that disappointment at the end of last season?
Mauricio: “Yes but not only from them, from ourselves too. I think that always as a coach or a manager you can improve and you need to improve from your mistakes. You know, we have ahead a big challenge now to repeat our performances and try to improve and to play in the Champions League. For a lot of players it’s a new competition, it is true that we will spend more energy than playing in the Europa League and we need to manage this in a different way to last season but it’s exciting for us and you can feel that all the players in the changing room are excited to start to compete.”
What will new signing Victor Wanyama bring to the team?
Mauricio: “I think that you all know – after three years at Southampton, he’s a midfielder that can help us and he performs well. He’s strong and has good quality with the ball. I think that he’s a player that we need because we have four competitions ahead and then we have Vincent Janssen. He is still very young, he was the top scorer in Holland and I think he’s a player different to Harry Kane so it’s very good to have him in the squad.”
How will Vincent Janssen and Harry Kane work together?
Mauricio: “We’ll see but the good thing is that they can play together. Harry came back late (from Euro 2016) so there has not been too much opportunity to see them play together in the friendly games but in the future that is a very good option, to play with two strikers or sometimes with one like it was last season. That is very important, that we have different options in the future.”
Do you feel the team can do better than last season?
Mauricio: “That is our challenge, to improve our performances, to compete better and to achieve another level but this is very hard because we are nearly on the top and you can be sure that the competition will be tough. Our idea is that it will be hard but we are very confident and we trust in our squad.”
Is Jan Vertonghen ready for Saturday after his injury?
Mauricio: “Yes, he is ready. He has made a big effort after he got an injury in the Euros and full credit to our medical staff because they’ve worked a lot with him so that he can try to be fit for the first game and now it’s my decision whether to include him in the team.”