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Spurs v Monaco - Mauricio's press conference

13 September 2016|Tottenham Hotspur

With the build-up to our first Champions League Group E match against Monaco in full swing, Mauricio Pochettino spoke to the media at Hotspur Way today (Tuesday, September 13) to preview the game. We take a look at some of the things he had to say.

How important is it that Eric Dier has committed his future to the club by signing a new contract?
Mauricio Pochettino: “Always it’s important to keep your best players and your English talent. That is very important for the club, for the project and I think it’s fantastic news.”

What sort of a statement do you think it sends out that the club’s players are signing new contracts?
Mauricio: “I think it’s very important for the club. It’s true that we (the coaching staff) showed our commitment to the club when we signed the new deal for five years and I think for the players it’s important to show their commitment to the club. I think it’s very important for the future.”

Do you expect Wembley to inspire the players?
Mauricio: “I think it will be a fantastic moment to share with our fans. Our players are very excited to play and very motivated. I think it’s a good opportunity to share with nearly 90,000 Tottenham fans. It will be a historic moment and the most important thing is to try to enjoy it and to try to win the game.”

Was it a relief to see Harry Kane score against Stoke at the weekend?
Mauricio: “It’s important for him, it’s important for the team too that our main striker started to score again but for him it was very important to score on Saturday because, for him and all strikers, it’s important to feel what it's like to hit the net. For him it arrived at a very good moment because we have a lot of important games ahead.”

Has Heung-Min Son given you another decision to make after his two goals at the weekend?
Mauricio: “It was important for him and for the team. It was tough last season and the transfer window was tough for him too but always the important thing is to give the option to play and he is a player that can help us a lot. We feel very happy for him. All at the club are very happy that he scored twice in the last game and helped the team to get the victory.”

What have you made of the improvements Eric Dier has made as a player?
Mauricio: “Eric Dier arrived in the same moment as me. When he came here he was very young with no experience in the Premier League. I remember that I used him like a full-back, a centre-back and then last season as a holding midfielder. Always with the youngsters we need to give the option to play, we are very happy about how he’s improved, he is still improving, he is very young, he is a very nice person, a top man and a very good player. He still needs to improve and we’ll see what happens but we are very happy with him.”

Have you adapted your training pitch here at the training ground to match the dimensions of the Wembley pitch?
Mauricio: “Yes, we’ve changed to have the same dimensions that Wembley has. You have more space to play – it’s difficult for the opponents to press you when you have more metres and more space to run. I like to play at White Hart Lane and I believe we will enjoy playing at Wembley too.”

Do you think playing on a pitch the size of Wembley will help your team?
Mauricio: “I will let you know after the game. Always we trust in us, we believe in the way that we play, I think it’s a good chance to play on a big pitch but I think in the end we need to adapt our game. We need to feel good at White Hart Lane because it’s our home but we need to feel good when we play at Wembley too.”

Do you think playing in the Champions League is a good opportunity for Harry Kane to establish himself as one of the best strikers in Europe?
Mauricio: “Yes. He is one of the best in the world, not just in Europe and to show (what he can do) in the Champions League will be fantastic. I think it’s a big challenge for him to show that he can compete in different competitions. I think it’s a good challenge for him.”

Do you have a pre-match routine and how will that be affected by playing at Wembley?
Mauricio: “It will be the same. We will arrive three-and-a-half hours before the game at Wembley, we have a very nice room for pre-match. We will have some meetings. We will arrive like normal.”

What are your memories of Wembley from the 2015 League Cup Final?
Mauricio: “I think it was a fantastic experience. We were unlucky in the game because I think that we deserved more but we played against a team like Chelsea that was difficult to beat. The circumstances were difficult – we came from Italy, we played another game against Fiorentina three days before, they were very difficult circumstances for us but that was two years ago. Always football is about trying to improve every day but it was a very good experience. I think now it’s a different period, we have a lot of players that have experience of playing at Wembley, I think that we are a more consistent team and we are stronger now.”

Will you have the same changing room that you had at that game for the Monaco match?
Mauricio: “No, different. We are in the home changing room. For the game against Chelsea we went in the away changing room.”