Belfast Telegraph

Pochettino understands criticism

Mauricio Pochettino is enjoying the extra criticism and scrutiny brought by the Tottenham job after such a smooth start to life in English football.

The former Argentina international arrived in the Barclays Premier League a relative unknown in January 2013, although quickly transformed himself into one of the hottest managerial prospects around.

Pochettino led Southampton to their best-ever Premier League finish in his only full campaign at the helm, playing a possession-based, attacking philosophy which impressed many onlookers.

That style and substance led Spurs to hand the 42-year-old a five-year deal in the summer, although transferring that success to White Hart Lane has proved tougher than many expected.

Poor performances and results have led to Pochettino coming under scrutiny, although he believes that will only improve him as a coach.

"It's a good thing to be criticised for a manager," he said. "Everyone in the world is criticised.

"It's a difficult thing to have all people agree with you and to make everyone happy. Our job is difficult, I understand it.

"Sometimes it's difficult to share the same decisions because we are all referees, we are all managers, we are all journalists, sometimes.

"It's my job. I am calm, I know which is my way, how we need to manage our players and our squad.

"It's true that we need to get results, that's the most important thing, but we have a clear way, a clear philosophy. We need to develop.

"Sometimes difficult moments happen but this is football.

"I enjoy this game, the next one on Sunday and try to get three points, which is the most important thing in football."

Stoke arrive in north London this weekend but before that return to domestic action comes a Europa League clash with Asteras Tripolis.

Spurs travelled to Greece without a host of key players for Thursday's match, with Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul, Aaron Lennon and Kyle Naughton left out.

Nabil Bentaleb and Kyle Walker remain absent through injury for a match which Pochettino expects to be much tougher than the 5-1 win in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago.

"Every game is different, a different moment," he said. "We know Asteras at home is a difficult team, a strong team.

"Their supporters are brave and we expect a very, very difficult game. Different, sure, to what we played in London.

"It will be a very important game for Asteras Tripolis, but don't forget we also want the three points."

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