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Pochettino: I don't fear for job, but Spurs must improve

Tottenham v Red Star, Champions League - Group B, Tottenham Stadium, Tonight, 8.00pm

Good atmosphere: Harry Kane in jovial mood during Spurs training
Good atmosphere: Harry Kane in jovial mood during Spurs training
Not fazed: Mauricio Pochettino pays no attention to speculation

By Jonathan Veal

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino accepts his position will come under increasing pressure if results do not improve.

Spurs have endured a terrible start to the season, winning just three times in 12 games, which has seen Pochettino face scrutiny for the first time in five-and-a-half years at the club.

The Argentinian says that he is not affected by speculation, and pointed to his lack of grey hairs as evidence, but knows the pressure on him will only get worse if his side cannot turn things around.

"The rumours happen in any club when you don't win," he said. "That doesn't mean they are true, and you need to care or pay attention about what has happened.

"But I understand it's the business. I am 47 - look, why do you think that I don't have white hair? Because I don't pay attention to any of this. I only pay attention to what we need to do to improve our performance.

"And if we don't improve our performance, what is going to be the result?

"It's always the same in football. Yes, you are thinking the same as me."

As well as the 7-2 humiliation to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Spurs caved to a 3-0 defeat at Brighton and needed a late leveller to draw with winless Watford at the weekend.

Pochettino said: "We are in a period where we are fragile like any team. In five years the team did a lot of good things, we set standards so high.

"Nearly all the players - 99 per cent of them - have enjoyed a good period at the club in the five-and-a-half years we have been here. It had always been very positive, so this, what is happening now, is a very new thing for us.

"But if you look at the history of Tottenham, now it looks normal for Tottenham to be in the Champions League, but five years ago it wasn't normal. We need to face a different period, but the belief is there and the faith.

"It's normal to have questions like we train too much, we are tired, all the rumours that can appear. Our answer is to only laugh."

Captain Harry Kane, sat next to his manager as he faced the media ahead of a crunch Champions League game with Red Star Belgrade, was asked to comment on a report that the players felt Pochettino's training sessions were too demanding.

Kane had a chuckle with his boss and said: "There's going to be speculation when things aren't going well, when you're not winning games, people will look from the outside for excuses.

"From our point of view we work hard every day. We have worked hard since the manager came here to improve as players and as a team, that hasn't changed.

"We need to carry on doing what we have always done and that is keep working as hard as possible."

Kane did at least admit that this was the toughest period of his time in the Spurs team, having previously over-achieved.

"I would say so. When you look at the results it's not been easy," he said. "Of course we all want to be winning games.

"It's not going to be a straight path to success. There's always going to be bumps along the way. At the moment we're at one and we have just got to overcome that."

Spurs' hopes of reaching the knockout stages will be all but over if they lose to the Serbian champions.

They are currently on one point after two games and would fall five behind Red Star if they were to be beaten.

They should have Christian Eriksen back from a dead leg, though, while Pochettino also teased that one of Giovani lo Celso or Ryan Sessegnon - almost certainly the former - will be involved after a lengthy injury lay-off.

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