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Leicester v Spurs - Mauricio's press conference

Posted on 17 May 2017  - 18:42

Mauricio Pochettino spoke to the media today (Wednesday, May 17) to preview Thursday night’s trip to Leicester City in the Premier League. Here are some of the things he had to say…

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How much of a disappointment is it that Danny Rose has had to have surgery and are you concerned that he might miss the start of next season?
Mauricio Pochettino: “Now we need to see how he reacts after that situation and then always it’s day by day to judge and see how he recovers. We hope and we wish that he has a speedy recovery because it will be good for us, for the team. It’s a difficult moment for him after three months and two weeks – it was in January that he got injured – it’s a difficult moment for him but we are here to support him, to help him and try to help him to be available as soon as possible. It’s a period of his recovery that we cannot accelerate or push too much. After, it’s about how his knee reacts.”

How has Danny taken the latest developments?
Mauricio: “I sent a text yesterday after the surgery, we’ve crossed some texts now. It’s a moment to give time to recover after yesterday. Be sure that (on) Friday he will be here (for us) to see him and check how he is. He will have all our support, the medical staff is a great medical staff, the doctor and the people involved around will help.”

With Danny, Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier out of the Leicester game, are you worried at the lack of full-backs at your disposal?
Mauricio: “We will have different options to play with different players. Maybe we’ll change the formation. It’s good for us to be creative now one more time and try to play in the best condition and try to win. For us the last two games are important. It’s true that we cannot change the table now but it’s important to try to win, it’s important to compete and to finish (well) because to finish second is a good thing for us but now we need to finish the last two games with a good feeling.”

Do you think Walker and Trippier will be available for the Hull game on Sunday?
Mauricio: “We need to see, we need to assess them. I don’t know today.”

How do you reflect on the Finale of White Hart Lane at the weekend?
Mauricio: “I think it was a very emotional day, it was a fantastic day. Always I will keep the memories in my mind forever. I think it was a fantastic time to enjoy, it was a fantastic moment to remember always, forever and it’s impossible to finish in a better way. Our fans enjoyed it a lot, it was a great possibility to share a great moment with the legends, the staff, the players, everyone. It was a fantastic day that will always be in our minds for the rest of our lives.”

Are there areas in which you feel Tottenham were better than Chelsea this season?
Mauricio: “It’s difficult to say we were better in this or another area because they won the Premier League. It’s not like a professional or like a person who loves football and understands football a little bit. If you won the Premier League it’s because you were the best team and it’s difficult to analyse why. It’s true that in private, maybe our consideration or our point of view (focuses on) things that maybe we need to improve and be sure that we need to improve for next season but you cannot say that we were better in this area or another when you are second. When you are like Chelsea and you won, it’s because you are the best. I have nothing to say but to show my respect and to congratulate Chelsea for winning the Premier League. We need to do better next season, we need to be stronger and improve in all the areas to try to win next season. I have nothing to say but I repeat, I congratulate Antonio (Conte) and the players and the club, they won the league. Nothing more to say, they were the best team in the Premier League.”

Do you have a favourite moment from this season?
Mauricio: “I think Sunday. Sunday was a fantastic moment, it was an amazing atmosphere, energy, the team played well, second in the table, unbeaten at White Hart Lane, our fans so happy in the way that we played, not only because we got a good result, but how the team played during the whole season. Sometimes it’s so difficult to keep the same level during eight, nine months but the team always tries to play, always tries to show (their best) and it’s so exciting to see the team playing. That makes us very, very proud. Last Sunday was very special, very emotional. We’ve spent a lot of time at White Hart Lane, we waited until the end to go to the pitch and take some pictures with the families, with the chairman, with the board – I think it was a fantastic moment to share all together, first of all with our fans, our players and legends, and then with the people, the staff and the board on the pitch. To finish in a very good way, happy for the new stadium to come, it’s all exciting. It was strange because in some ways it was a sad moment but when you see in the corner, the new stadium is coming, it’s exciting too. You are sad but sometimes you are excited – it’s so difficult to describe that feeling.”

Dele Alli said in an interview this week that he thinks the squad you have now is already good enough to win the Premier League next season. What do you think about that?
Mauricio: “It’s a good perception from the players but the players are the players and the vision is always completely different. I am very happy that that is the perception from our players. It’s true, you know very well, when you are second it’s something that you need to improve on and you must improve if you want to win because next season will be completely different, all our enemies and opponents will try to improve their squad. I understand what he wants to say if it’s true what you tell me, but in life you cannot stay happy with what you are doing now – you need to try to improve, improve, improve. For us it’s the same. Next season and during the summer we need to find a way to inspire them, to motivate them to push further in our performances and to find different ways to play. Then try to add more quality, maybe, if we are capable of finding this type of player that can help us for the next season to play better, to be better and try to compete better in different periods of the season.”

What do you think are the areas that you can learn from this season?
Mauricio: “The question before was fantastic. If we are capable in the last two games of winning one, we will have a better (points total) than Leicester last season. Sometimes it’s about being more competitive in the season. We had some problems in October and November when we dropped a lot of points in the Premier League and then it was difficult to catch Chelsea in the end because our performance wasn’t the best for different reasons. That is the point that we need to analyse, to try to provide the team (with the tools) to be more competitive and more consistent during the whole season. To compete with clubs like we are talking about, it’s always important to be competitive. It’s too difficult when you drop (your level) sometimes in some periods, then to catch your opponents. Chelsea were in a different, not level than us, but a different schedule of fixtures. They didn’t play in the Europa League or Champions League, no European competitions and they were capable of being consistent in the Premier League. That is why they won in the end. Next season will be different, you never know, but it’s important for us to try to improve and try to be consistent and don’t have that situation where sometimes you drop in one month, or in four or five weeks and then it’s difficult to (close) the gap.”

Harry Kane has said that there aren’t many better places in the world right now to play football than at Tottenham. Now nice is it to hear that?
Mauricio: “In the last few weeks I’ve heard a lot of positive things from our players. I think it’s exciting for the players that are here to play at Tottenham and then because it’s a completely different project than maybe another club that is on our level in the table. Yes, I feel proud. Harry is a player that, for him, Tottenham means a lot and he shows it every day, in every training session, in every appearance and every day that he plays for Tottenham.”

Does it seem strange that Leicester – last season’s champions – are 37 points behind you going into this game?
Mauricio: “They deserve all the credit last season because they were the best like Chelsea today. We talk a lot about how competitive the Premier League is. They struggled from the beginning of the season and then it was difficult to recover the pace and the consistency in the Premier League and then when you play in the Champions League, it’s always tough. For them it was the first time for all the players to share the Champions League, the Premier League and the cups. For us, it’s good because after two seasons we are one of the best teams but now is a moment next season to try to win again and try to fight. I think we are in a very good way. If we are consistent to push, push, push I think we will achieve what we want – that is to win trophies. That is important for us.”

When you spoke about the problems you had in October and November, is the answer mental or do you need a bigger squad?
Mauricio: “No, I told you it was difficult for us to compete. It wasn’t about quality. We struggled to compete. I remember many, many things happened after Monaco away. Now is a moment to be cool and try to analyse better all that happened. There is a record of every single match, every single training session – we record everything. Now is a moment for us, because we have time now going to Hong Kong, to work a lot and try to analyse and assess all the season. Be sure that we will find the way to fix that and try to provide the better tools for the team to not struggle in some moments. It’s a very good opportunity for us to learn and improve in our methods, in the way that we handle and manage the team. It’s important to be humble, to be honest and try to look at us, maybe to analyse why, how we can improve and how we can give better tools next season to the team to try to be better.”

Do you think that next season, opposing sides will see Tottenham as a big team and therefore it might be more difficult for your players?
Mauricio: “This season, always it was a challenge to play against Tottenham like it was the season before. That is very good for us because when you play with the opponents, always it’s a challenge to beat you. You need to be strong, you need to train and push yourself every day in the training sessions, to be fitter than the opponents, stronger in your mind and try to find solutions in every single situation on the pitch. I think it’s good because it pushes us to be better. That condition, I like a lot because it pushes us every day. Be sure that next season will be tough because it’s not only the challenge to compete against Tottenham, it’s the challenge of playing at Wembley because it’s a big challenge for every team. Some teams maybe have never played at Wembley and next season they will have the opportunity to play at Wembley for one game. It’s a big challenge for everyone.”

Have you managed to congratulate Antonio Conte on winning the title yet?
Mauricio: “No, the opportunity was before the game to send my congratulations, before I take the opportunity to send again. I don’t have his number but you can translate it through the cameras, through the media.”

Mousa Dembele has been on the bench for the last few games – is he okay?
Mauricio: “He is struggling with his foot. We’ll see what happens now after Sunday. He needs to see the specialist. He’s okay but maybe not at his best to play 90 minutes.”

Is it the same injury as before?
Mauricio: “Yes, but he is making a big effort to stay available and help the team in the last few weeks and I want to say that we appreciate it a lot. It’s very painful for him but he is doing his best to try to help the team in the last few weeks, first of all to try to arrive to the final of the FA Cup and then to win the Premier League and then, in the end, to be second in the table.”