Belfast Telegraph

Mauricio Pochettino backs ‘brave’ Tottenham after ending summer with same squad

Spurs made history on deadline day.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham have acted on his call to be “brave and take risks” despite becoming the first Premier League side in history not to make a signing in the summer transfer window.

Spurs failed to do any business – either incomings or outgoings – during the summer and they will begin the new campaign with the same squad that finished last season.

It was at the end of the last campaign that, after guiding Spurs to a third successive top three finish, Pochettino challenged Daniel Levy to match his own ambition.

Most people took that to mean the Argentinian, who signed a new five-year contract after issuing his apparent ultimatum, wanted financial backing to bring new players in, but that has not materialised.

What Spurs have done is tie down a number of their key men, such as Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min and Davinson Sanchez to new deals – with more expected to follow suit.

Pochettino insists that to keep his best players when the club are spending £1billion on a new stadium and redeveloping their training ground is being brave.

“What the club is doing is showing it is so brave,” he offered. “Building a new training ground, finishing this summer the lodge was a massive investment.

“Building a stadium that is nearly £1bn. That is true, don’t believe in £400m, that is the truth. And then with Brexit it is worse because the cost is 30 per cent more, and then keep the best players.

“For me [that] is to be brave. Of course maybe in the mind of everyone they will say, ‘Oh Tottenham didn’t sign’, but to sign for the sake of signing?

“You need to respect all the opinions but of course we are a club that our decision was not to sign, (even though) it is the fashion to sign or because we are the only club in Europe that has not signed players.

“That maybe looks bad because of the perception and because of the history of football, but that is our decision – to keep the best players and to keep the squad. It’s a brave decision.”

On people’s perceptions of his comments after the final game of last season, Pochettino added: “I am responsible for what I told you or what I tell you but I cannot be responsible for what you believe that I wanted to tell you.”

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Toby Alderweireld looks poised to remain a Spurs player as the squad stays the same (Martin Rickett/PA)

Pochettino refused to panic at the lack of arrivals and is happy with the club’s vision.

“I don’t feel the panic in football. Some people make a drama in football and drama for me is another thing,” Pochettino added.

“Football is a game where you need to be clever in how you set your principles, your strategy to try to win the games. Never a drama.

“I think we have a very competitive squad, of course that we are hoping to improve, but if you cannot improve the most important thing is trying to keep your best team, your best players.

“We try to be competitive. It is important to be professional, to have commitment, with the team, with the club, with yourself, full commitment until the end.

“If all the players today are thinking in a collective target, we can be competitive. If we have all the squad thinking as individuals rather than as a collective, you cannot achieve what you want and cannot succeed. That is the key this season.”

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