Belfast Telegraph

Pochettino will not be premature in ruling on his squad

Tottenham boss defended his tinkering with the team and talked up Winks’ development

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino will hope his team can make it back-to-back Premier League wins at Leicester (Yui Mok/PA).
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino will hope his team can make it back-to-back Premier League wins at Leicester (Yui Mok/PA).

By George Sessions, PA

Mauricio Pochettino will judge how good this current Tottenham squad are at the end of the season.

After two transfer windows without signing a single player, Spurs returned to business this summer and secured the services of Ryan Sessegnon, Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndomele and Jack Clarke.

Only a handful of key players left, with Kieran Trippier and Fernando Llorente moving on but Pochettino refused to be drawn on whether this group were the best he had been in charge of at Hotspur Way.

“We will see at the end of the season. At the moment I don’t believe this is the best squad,” he said.

“But I think if you only see the results, playing in the final of the Champions League, it’s easy to say the better squad was last season’s squad because we got to the final.

“We will see if we can repeat, or if we win some trophy maybe we can talk about this being the best squad.”

Spurs’ lack of consistency has been a problem for a while now, arguably stretching back to the beginning of 2019.

A 3-1 win over Leicester in February was Tottenham’s fourth straight victory in the Premier League, but since then the best they have managed in the division is back-to-back wins and they have only achieved this once.

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The uncertainty over the future of players like Christian Eriksen has affected Spurs’ start to the season (Joe Giddens/PA).

It highlights why Pochettino has been frustrated, but does the fact he constantly changes the team also have an impact on results?

He added: “England is a very competitive country. I’m lucky to have the possibility to play in four competitions, so all need to be ready to play now and is going to have the possibility to play. and they need to show their quality.

“The problem in football is it’s not basketball, that you can change every five minutes, you can play only with 11.

“If you want to give consistency to the team, maybe you need to keep your 11 to play consistently, but the moment that you start to change, if you don’t win, ‘why (did) we change?’. If you win and you want to change, the players that don’t play they need to play more.”

One player who has constantly hit strong performance levels is Harry Winks, even though the midfielder failed to play a single minute for England on international duty recently.

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Pochettino likes what he sees from Harry Winks (PA)

Pochettino admitted the Spurs academy graduate can improve even more, but talked up his development over the past 12 months, which has seen him become a regular starter.

“I think there is still room to improve but I am happy with his mentality,” Tottenham’s manager said.

“He is one of the most aggressive players on the pitch. When he keeps the ball, how he plays, with the ball he is very aggressive, breaking lines, keeping possession, always thinking forwards. I think we expect that from him, but what pleases us the most is his play without the ball.

“The progress, how is working, how he is fighting, how aggressive he is and the hunger to recover the ball quick – that is I think what he need to keep working and pushing on because that is what is going to make the difference to be a good player, or a big player.”

PA

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