Mauricio on squad selection for Newcastle
Thu 09 August 2018, 15:06|Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino has indicated that some of our World Cup semi-finalists will be involved in our Premier League opener at Newcastle on Saturday (12.30pm).
Nine players – Toby Alderweireld, Dele Alli, Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier, Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier and Jan Vertonghen - returned to Hotspur Way on Monday having reached the last four and therefore being involved until the end of the tournament on 14-15 July.
Mauricio declared himself happy with how the nine have returned in ‘mood, attitude and shape’ and now has to make decisions over the make-up of the team and squad for St James’ Park.
“We need to assess the players tomorrow (Friday) and then we’ll decide,” said Mauricio after training on Thursday.
“It’s difficult to think that all the players are going to play in the starting 11 – some players will be in the starting 11, some on the bench and some will be out, trying to get fitter.
“There are a lot of question marks and it’s about finding a good balance for the team. We’ll decide tomorrow.”
Furthermore, Mauricio has highlighted the importance of continuity within the squad ahead of the start of the new season.
The Argentine boss is optimistic that we'll continue to make progress on the field following a summer of top-level experience for our squad on the international stage, in which a total of 12 players represented their countries at the World Cup and captain Hugo Lloris went on to lift the trophy, in addition to new contracts being secured for a number of our first team players.
"I am happy to keep all the squad together," he said. "There are many rumours during the summer about players out. I think the Club made a massive effort to try to extend contracts with people like Harry Kane. He is one example but there are many examples too.
"We believe a lot in our players. Now (we have) players who competed at a high level in the World Cup, now we have the captain who is the world champion, the one who lifted the trophy. That is, I think, a fantastic experience for him to translate to our team. Sure we are going to be better, no doubt about that."
Asked about his feelings on the decision not to make changes to the squad this summer, Mauricio reiterated: "I am not worried, I am not sad - I am so happy. To keep our best players was our objective and goal and we have achieved that.
"If you can't add a player that can improve your squad, the most important thing is to make sure you do not lose your best players and I think that was a great job from the Club to keep the best players.
"The market was crazy, the World Cup changed the mind of everyone. We didn't sell players and with 25 players in the squad it is difficult to add players. It's not about adding because it's fashionable to sign players. (It's about) if you really need (a player) or not and then if you can get your target or not.
“If we want to win, make the Club and our fans proud, it's about being professional, fighting for your team-mate, yourself, your Club and being the best. It's about thinking collectively. That will be the key to us fighting for big things this season.”