Belfast Telegraph

Mauricio Pochettino: Spurs need to be fully focused from day one

Tottenham made a slow start last season and the boss wants to avoid a repeat.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has made getting off to a fast start in the Premier League a clear objective this season.

Spurs won their opening fixture at Newcastle last season and will look to follow that up when Fulham visit Wembley on Saturday.

Sluggish starts to the campaign have hampered Pochettino’s men in recent years, like last year when they followed up an opening day win at Newcastle with a defeat and a draw from home games against Chelsea and Burnley.

Pochettino admits he has addressed the matter with his players ahead of the campaign and hopes to get some early points on the board this time around.

“We were talking about that. It’s true, not taking too much time,” he said.

“All the players were here last week and we talked about that. Not wasting time. We need to be focused from day one.

“Maybe it looks as though we do have time but the Premier League is so competitive and it is so important to be ready. For me that is the key thing.

“The most important game is Saturday. Then after Saturday it’s the next one.

“So we have to be ready to compete and not waste time. Not think, ‘OK, we can win or we can draw’. For me that’s the key. It’s true.”

Pochettino has revealed that Spurs are “working” on a potential loan exit for Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, who looks set to join German club Mainz.

He does not expect too many more departures, meaning Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele could remain at the club until January.

“They are all part of the squad and the club, like I explained last week, every player has different goals, targets, motivation and reality,” he said.

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“Georges-Kevin is part of the group, but like last season, he was on loan at Burnley, and maybe now he’s young, tries to play more, maybe he will have the possibility to play and be guaranteed to play more than here.

“We’re working, it’s still open in Europe, the transfer window and many things can happen.

“I don’t believe there will be too much movement because we cannot sign, but different individual things can happen.

“We’re open, I’m open, and if some players are not happy because they need to play or believe they can play more in another team, or need to change the environment or need a new challenge or motivation, I told them, I am open to try to find a solution.”

Spurs will be without Son Heung-min for the game against the Cottagers as he is at the Asian Games with South Korea, while Erik Lamela (thigh) is back in training.

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