Mauricio's five-point preview - Sheffield United
Fri 08 November 2019, 17:48|Tottenham Hotspur
After a successful midweek trip to Serbia in the Champions League, we're back in Premier League action against Sheffield United at home on Saturday (3pm).
Here is Mauricio Pochettino's regular, pre-match preview...
1- Belgrade and back
As always, our first question is on the players and this time, how they'd recovered from the trip to Belgrade and started to prepare for the Blades on Saturday...
Mauricio: "We’re okay, and a positive result always helps you to recover better. Now we are so focussed on the game tomorrow. It’s an important game for us in the Premier League and it will be tough because Sheffield United are doing fantastic. Knowing that we want to be in a better position in the table, we want the three points."
2 - A first against Red Star
It hasn't been lost that Wednesday's win in Belgrade represented the first time summer signings Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso (first start for us, scored in the 4-0 win) and Ryan Sessegnon (second appearance off the bench, Champions League debut, assist for fourth goal) had appeared on the pitch together...
Mauricio: "New players always need time, but then they have suffered injuries like Gio and Ryan, and then it’s a late adaptation into the team. Of course, now we have some injured players, it’s possible for different players to step up and be in the squad. Still, we have a big squad, 28, 29 players and when they are all available, it will be difficult to pick only 18, there will be 10, 11 players out of the squad. The rotation to give the chance to everyone is always important and the players need to accept that this is the way we are going to manage and handle the squad. Every time they have the chance to play, they need to take the opportunity."
3 - Momentum
It was a fantastic win in Belgrade, a notoriously tough place to go - how important is it to now build momentum?
Mauricio: "It’s always important when you are in a good run to keep that good run going and when you are not in a positive run, to turn that around. For us, this game is so important if we want to be in a good position in the table. It’s a massive game for us. We always respect our opponents and we know this is a very strong, aggressive team with a lot of confidence because they are getting very good results. It is going to be tough."
4 - The Blades
Sheffield United have started superbly in the Premier League and arrive in N17 sitting sixth - what is Mauricio expecting from Chris Wilder's men on Saturday?
Mauricio: "They are very strong in how they work. They are humble, so strong, a strong mentality as well. They are doing very well. Different teams have different situations that you have to be careful about, but they are so clear in how they play, and they are so strong in their ideals. They have done a fantastic job. They are so competitive, good players, good team collective and a great manager."
5 - 2015
This game evokes memories of 2015 and our League Cup semi-final against Sheffield United over two legs. We led 1-0 from the first leg, then 1-0 away only for the Blades to pull back for 2-2 on aggregate before Christian Eriksen's late winner took us to Wembley. What did Mauricio remember about that tie?
Mauricio: "I remember it was tough, it (the away leg) was so cold, it was snowing, a difficult game and an unbelievable night. We beat them 1-0 at home and then scored a late goal from Christian to draw the game (2-2 on the night, 3-2 on aggregate) and have the possibility to play the final. It was a big game, a tough game. I have great memories of that."