How is Toby Alderweireld doing?
Mauricio Pochettino: “He trained well today, he’s recovered from the virus that he got one day before the game against Southampton and we hope that he will be available for Watford, but today he is okay.”
And Erik Lamela?
Mauricio: “Lamela is still recovering from his problem, he is doing well but now we need to wait for him to recover his fitness and his level. There are no other problems.”
Will you pick your side against Watford with the Chelsea game in mind as well?
Mauricio: “No because for us the most important game is Watford. It’s important to try to reduce the gap to the top four (or) in the end keep the same gap. We need to be focused on Watford because they are the most important (opponents) now for us.”
Is it too much to claw back the 10 points to league leaders Chelsea?
Mauricio: “I think that it’s a long way ahead, it will be tough for all the contenders. Chelsea have a very big gap now with second and 10 points with us but I think it’s not decisive. We need to believe, we are fighting to try to reduce the gap and we have a very good opportunity when we play them but first of all we must win against Watford, a very important three points and then we’ll see what happens with the other teams that are against us. It’s a lot of games ahead, it’s nearly the half-way point of the season and it’s a long way (to go).”
Do you expect to bring anyone in during the January transfer window?
Mauricio: “I don’t expect to do some business because I am happy with the squad that we have and I think it’s not the right moment. Only if there is the possibility to benefit us, if not, no.”
What have you made of Dele Alli’s form in the last few weeks and this season overall, compared to last season?
Mauricio: “Always I was happy with him. The young players need to try to improve every day, to get more experience. I think Dele Alli has big potential to improve but I think it’s impossible to keep the same level. The level that he was playing (last year) was very high for the whole season but there is no doubt that he is and will be one of the best players in the next 10 to 12 years.”
Do you foresee any players leaving in January?
Mauricio: “I don’t expect that players will go out of the squad in January. There is no sense (in that).”
Arsene Wenger said today that the first half of the Premier League season has been disappointing in terms of the quality of the matches. Do you agree?
Mauricio: “First of all I didn’t hear his press conference and I cannot speak about the things that I didn’t see. For me, the Premier League is the most tough competition, I think the quality is good here but then everyone can have their opinions and you need to respect all opinions. For me, the Premier League is the most tough competition. I came from Spain, I was in France, I follow the different competitions like the Bundesliga and (the leagues) in Italy and Argentina and I think in England we are on top.”
We’re almost half-way through the season. How would you rate your team’s performance?
Mauricio: “It’s up to you how you want to judge the season. It’s difficult to judge. If we compare it with last season, at this point we have four more points than last season but we are fifth and last season we were fourth. Maybe the people have different opinions. For different reasons that we know inside, in the first period of the season we feel disappointed because we are out of the Champions League and we cannot hide that but I think in the Premier League we are doing well. We can do better, of course, we are ambitious, of course, and we can improve but I think the expectation was massive at the beginning and to be out of the Champions League is a little bit disappointing, not only for us but our supporters too. Maybe that feeling is not so good to show the numbers because in 2016 I think we broke the record of 71 points (in a calendar year) and we can be happy but for different reasons it’s not 100 per cent full happiness.”