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Spurs v Sunderland - Mauricio's press conference

16 September 2016|Tottenham Hotspur

We take a look at some of the things Mauricio Pochettino had to say during today’s (Friday, September 16) press conference ahead of our home match against Sunderland on Sunday.

What effect has Wednesday's defeat to Monaco had on you?
Mauricio: "We feel very disappointed. I can repeat every word from my press conference after the game. I can confirm it all. When you watch the game three times and analyse the clips, I can confirm all I explained to you after the game. Now we need to learn from that, be more aggressive, to play more in the way we usually play, to try to fix this image. I think the first half was difficult to manage. The second half was much better, we played in the way we normally play. We deserved more. In the end we were much better than Monaco. If you give them a present like we gave, it’s impossible to come back again and get a result. We have no excuse, it wasn't Wembley that was the problem, it wasn't the pitch that was the problem – we were the problem and we need to be very critical with ourselves."

How do the players feel about that result?
Mauricio: "They feel disappointed too. Sometimes you need to explain the reality but the reality was tough to explain. They faced it and I look at myself too. Maybe I put myself in question too. We share responsibility but we cannot repeat that. You can lose, not play well but never concede two goals how we conceded. It was a collective problem, not an individual problem. I was the first guilty in this situation."

Was it a let-down after all the build-up to the club's return to Champions League action?
Mauricio: "When we wait six years, a lot of time, to play in the Champions League, after 45 minutes you can't go to the changing room with this feeling. We had 90,000 people in front of us, waiting for us to play in the Champions League. The atmosphere was amazing, we nearly cried before when we heard the song from the Champions League, it's a dream come true. That was difficult but we have time to win games, we have the possibility to go to the next round. It's early days. It's important to be more regular and consistent in our behaviour. This is very important for our future. It's early in the season but we need to compete much, much better."

Is Harry Kane under more scrutiny after that game?
Mauricio: "It’s true that the circumstances for all were difficult from the summer with the Euros. We are a team that sometimes needs more time to settle. I have no doubt that Harry Kane will score goals and it’s more a collective issue than an individual one."

Is it a good time to play Sunderland this weekend after their start to the season?
Mauricio: "I think that we are both teams that, after our last games, need to change our image. I need to be focused on my team. It’s a very important game for us and for them too. It’ll be a tough game. It’s the Premier League, it demands a lot of energy like the Champions League. It’s the same level and we need to be ready."

Will there be any changes to the team from Wednesday night?
Mauricio: "It’s true that after Wednesday I am thinking about rotating the team a bit, the starting XI. We’ll see what happens tomorrow when we assess all the players and take the best decision for the team."

Can we expect more players to sign new contracts in the near future after Harry Winks put pen to paper?
Mauricio: "I need to say that the club has made a big effort to try to keep all our talents. It’s fantastic for the club. My feeling is that we need to do more because the club gives us a lot of things, very good things and we need to be more like a team with more passion, more desire. The club is working very well in this aspect and it’s always good to see young players showing their commitment to the club."

How do you get that passion and desire that you mentioned?
Mauricio: “Sometimes you can make a mistake because your reality is different. For me, in the first half (on Wednesday), we had a lack of passion, a lack of aggression, a lack of desire to play in the Champions League. One thing is true – we waited six years to play again in the Champions League at this club and it was always our dream. I remember when I signed my contract on May 27, 2014, always the dream was to play in the Champions League. I never said we didn’t have passion for the Champions League - we didn’t show passion on Wednesday night in the first half. In the second half we showed a lot of passion and we played very well. They didn’t shoot, they had zero corners and I was happy with our performance in the second half. Only in this 45-minute period we didn’t show passion. Why? This is my big question, and not only me."

Can you draw on the win at Stoke for inspiration?
Mauricio: “I wasn’t happy after that result but okay, we are in a period where we need to still improve a lot.”

You weren't happy with the Stoke game?
Mauricio: “I remember the first half was the same as against Monaco. In the first actions they had the facility to score and then because we scored late in the first half and again in the second half we won 4-0. But my feeling did not change from the result, it changed from the performance and what I can see during the game. It’s not that I’m happy because it’s 4-0, we need to be clever and analyse the circumstances of the game. Sometimes you have luck, sometimes not. Maybe if Stoke had scored in the first few minutes, maybe the result would have been different – and against Monaco, with the first chance they scored. The second chance, they scored. We allowed them to score and then it was difficult and we lost the game. But I’m not a fan, I’m a professional about football. I need to analyse it in a different way, that is a massive difference.”

Do you think Spurs can be title challengers this season?
Mauricio: "I think it is too far for us to talk about being contenders for the title at the end (of the season). We need to improve a lot and learn. Tottenham has a responsibility to fight for titles so we’ll see. We need to show we deserve it."

How pleased are you to have Mousa Dembele back after his suspension?
Mauricio: "Mousa was important for us and the team last season. He is a very good player who can help us a lot to get good results and performances in the future."

When are we likely to see Georges-Kevin Nkoudou in action?
Mauricio: "We’ll see. He needs to work more. I think maybe he will be ready to be selected next week – maybe, but not sure. It is going well. He is very young, he speaks only French. He is learning quickly but he is still settling into the team."