How pleased are you to see Harry Kane nominated for the PFA Players’ Player and Young Player of the Year awards and do you think he deserves to win?
Mauricio: Pochettino: “I think yes, all my players deserve to win but it’s another thing to achieve that. I’m very pleased for him, very pleased for Dele too, all their team-mates are very pleased and very happy, the club, our fans (too). It’s very good news for us.”
Dele has been nominated for the Young Player award. Do you feel that he perhaps could have been nominated for the Players’ Player of the Year?
Mauricio: “Maybe, yes. Maybe I agree with you. He is showing a great performance every week and in every game, he’s improved a lot from last season, I think he’s a better player, he’s showing better stats and in my opinion, yes, he deserves that.”
Do you think Dele has come of age in football terms this season?
Mauricio: “Yes, it’s true that last season always he was a player that had a big impact in his first season in the Premier League. Always the people want to see that again in the second season, if he can confirm all that he showed last season. Not only has he confirmed that but improved in all aspects of his game. That means that he is clever, intelligent, he still has potential to improve and learn and today he is showing that he’s one of the best players in the Premier League.”
Earlier this season we asked you if you thought Harry Kane could get to 30 goals this season – do you still think that’s possible after his spells out injured?
Mauricio: “All is possible in football if you believe. Harry is a player with a character and personality that believes in all. He’s a person that never settles for the limits, is open to improving and why not? All is possible, there are a lot of games to play until the end of the season, he is fit again now, available to play, he is in a good condition, he is very fresh in his body and his mind and he is very hungry to score again.”
With the early kick-off again on Saturday, how important is it to keep putting pressure on leaders Chelsea?
Mauricio: “It’s important for us to get the three points more than to put pressure on Chelsea. (We have) to keep our level, to win games for ourselves and try to, as a consequence, put pressure on them. It’s important for us because we will put pressure on Chelsea. To get the three points is a very important thing for us on Saturday.”
Is it all about mental strength for your players in the final few games?
Mauricio: “It’s true that all can happen in football but we must keep that mentality that we are showing. We must show that we’ve improved a lot from last season and it’s a big opportunity because we arrive in a similar position to last season, fighting for the Premier League with a similar gap too, but now it’s (about trying) to cross that limit, to push ourselves a little bit more and trying to go further than last season.”
With 14 points between Spurs and Arsenal, are you confident of finishing above them?
Mauricio: “I am confident to win on Saturday. I think we are playing and we are fighting for bigger things. If we look at the big picture, it’s to try to reduce the gap with Chelsea. Today it’s not important, the gap that we have now with Arsenal. The most important thing is to do our jobs, try to win games and try to reduce the gap with Chelsea.”
In light of what happened with Borussia Dortmund this week, are you as a club reviewing your security arrangements?
Mauricio: “Yes, the club is reviewing things every single week to try to provide our fans and us with better conditions and security. Yes, the club is reviewing security every week. Then I want to send all our support to Borussia Dortmund – of course, the coaching staff, the players and fans after all that happened a few days ago and to wish (Marc) Bartra all the best and wish him a speedy recovery. It was a big shock for all of them.”
Is that sort of incident a worry to you?
Mauricio: “Not a worry. In the time that we are living it’s always important to be aware, reviewing the security and trying to be safe. I think it’s very important. A few days ago all that happened in Germany, in Dortmund, made a big impact for all of us and to send all our support, that is a minimum thing that we can do.”
Have you looked at your remaining games and set targets for matches to win?
Mauricio: “Our target is Saturday. Our challenge is to win the three points and then we’ll see what happens – no more. I think it’s important to spend energy in trying to be ready for Saturday, try to give our best and try to win. Then what happens in different games, it’s true that it can provide us with the possibility to reduce the gap but we must do our jobs first.”
Have the team’s good performances surprised you?
Mauricio: “Surprised? No. I believe in my players, I believe in the way that we play. They have not surprised me. We are playing well, that is the reality. It doesn’t surprise me.”
Tell us about Bournemouth – we know you admire Eddie Howe…
Mauricio: “Yes, they are capable of taking a good result away. Like always, for me, in the Premier League every game is difficult to play. They are a very aggressive team with good players that try to play along the grass with a very clear philosophy. I like the way they play, I like their manager, it will be tough for us to try to beat them but we know that we need to fight a lot, play and give our best. Every single game in the Premier League is always tough.”
Have you been impressed by what Eddie Howe has done at Bournemouth?
Mauricio: “Of course. Bournemouth is a team that plays exciting football and I like to watch them play a lot.”
Could Danny Rose begin training again next week?
Mauricio: “Maybe he will start next week, doing things on the pitch. We hope that will be possible.”
Will the Chelsea FA Cup semi-final come too early for him?
Mauricio: “We’ll see how he adapts on the pitch. Maybe it’s too early but we’ll see what happens next week.”