What’s the team news for Wednesday’s game?
Mauricio Pochettino: “Mousa Dembele will be out for tomorrow and we’ll see for Sunday but for sure tomorrow he is not available to be selected. It’s his foot, he got a kick and it’s very painful now. We need to see what happens in the next few days. Maybe he will be available for Sunday.”
What’s the latest on Erik Lamela?
Mauricio: “He got back to London on Monday, he is training, he is much better but now it’s normal after a few days in Argentina – he needs to recover the feeling, start to train again, we’ll assess him and we’ll see in the next few days if he can be available. We cannot give a date when he will be available again. The weekend is maybe too early, maybe for Southampton. We’ll see. We hope that as soon as possible he can be available and training with the group again.”
How important is it that the team produces a good performance after Sunday?
Mauricio: “I think always in the Premier League it’s important to win, to perform as well and play under your philosophy. After Swansea we lost against Manchester United, it was an even game but now it’s important to try to win the three points against Hull, important to be in a good position to fight for the top four and I think it’s very important to get the three points. It’s important first of all to play well and deserve to win the game.”
Can Spurs still compete for the title with there now being a 10-point gap to Chelsea?
Mauricio: “I think it’s a long way until the end of the season and many things can happen in football. It’s true that 10 points is a big gap but in football always anything can happen. I repeat, it’s a long way to the end of the season and it’s for that reason always we need to believe to win games, believe to try to perform and try to fight to reduce that gap.”
Do you need the players who are playing behind Harry Kane to chip in with more goals?
Mauricio: “I think it’s not fair (to say that) after Manchester United when we didn’t score because one week ago after the Swansea game when we won 5-0, it was all praise about our players. Now we played against Manchester United, a difficult game, we had some chances, we didn’t score but I think it’s a little bit unfair to start to say now that we need more goals from our second line or the players in behind Harry Kane. In football it’s about having a clear philosophy, to be aggressive in both boxes, first of all to try to defend your box and then to try to score and that balance is the most important thing. It’s unfair to say that we need to score more goals. We know that we need to score more, be more aggressive and increase our level and our performance but I think it was an even game against Manchester United and there’s nothing to complain about.”
Do you think diving is becoming more and more of a problem in football?
Mauricio: “I think that we review the Premier League every season but we are always happy in football. Today we have the possibility for many analysts because there are maybe 40 cameras in every stadium, you can see from different angles and (there might appear to be) some terrible things but it always happens in football. It happened before. I was talking yesterday over dinner with Ossie Ardiles and 30 years ago it was the same, sometimes it was worse, but there were no cameras to show it (so people) can talk about that situation. Every season something happens. Always it can happen in football – (it happened) in the past and it can happen in the future too.”
Would you be in favour of the FA looking at and maybe acting upon video evidence after the games?
Mauricio: “It’s true that I am against cheating but sometimes there are some actions in football where you don’t find the action that happens. For that reason it’s very difficult through the cameras to ban the players because you can be sure that the things that happen on the pitch can be different. For that reason it’s too difficult. I like the technology, I like the fair play but there are some actions in football that you cannot control.”
You have your own experience of this sort of thing with Michael Owen…
Mauricio: “Yes. I don’t remember! Thank you for reminding me! That is football, I accept that football is like this. I was stupid, very stupid in that situation and I paid for that.”
Have you spoken to Michael Owen about it since?
Mauricio: “Yes. I’ve had the possibility to meet him many times and I admire him, he was a great player and now he’s a great man. I enjoy it a lot every time that I meet Michael Owen. He’s a very clever person. The last time I met him I enjoyed talking about the striker’s position and movement into the box. It was fantastic to learn from him.”
Lots of ex-Spurs players will be coming back to White Hart Lane with Hull tomorrow. What kind of reception do you think they’ll get?
Mauricio: “Always it’s exciting for the players to come back to their former club. For them it will be a very special day. I had the possibility when we arrived to meet Michael Dawson and Ryan Mason, we have very good memories of different times we spent together, now it’s another opportunity to meet Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone but when they come it will be great for them because they will receive a very warm welcome at White Hart Lane.”
Do you feel that now we might see the best of Tottenham?
Mauricio: “Last season in that moment when the team didn’t suffer too many injuries, we rotated a lot and we arrived at that period with the same minutes and games played for the whole squad. We shared it a lot. It’s true that in that moment it was different but it’s true that we are all together, you can feel that the team is stronger and we can compete better. We have plenty of possibility to choose (players).”
Is Vincent Janssen available again?
Mauricio: “Vincent is still out. It’s a problem with his ankle and we’ll see. For Wednesday he’s out, for Sunday he’s out and then we’ll see about Southampton but I’m not sure.”
DON’T MISS WEDNESDAY’S OFFICIAL MATCHDAY PROGRAMME!
Pick up your copy of our official matchday programme at the Hull City game on Wednesday evening.
It’s £3.50 for 100 pages, including...
- Feature interview with Danny Rose
- Mauricio Pochettino's exclusive column
- Another instalment of ‘The White Hart Lane Years’
- Discussing the talents of Josh Onomah in 'Centre of Attention'
- A look at Hull's squad with player profiles and statistics
Buy yours from a number of points around the stadium or from the Spurs Megastore on Wednesday evening.
Sample it now for free with our 12-page online preview edition
or buy the full 100-page digital issue via tottenhamhotspur.com/programme