Belfast Telegraph

Tottenham boss Pochettino plays down task of current rebuild job

Spurs face Southampton on Saturday.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino will return to Southampton on Saturday (Peter Byrne/PA)
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino will return to Southampton on Saturday (Peter Byrne/PA)

By Jonathan Veal, PA

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino insists his current rebuild job is nothing compared with the one he inherited in his first season at the club.

Pochettino, whose side face his former club Southampton on Saturday, admitted in the summer that he was leading Spurs into a new chapter following the completion of their new stadium and their run to the Champions League final.

He warned of a “painful rebuild” and so far that has proved to be the case as he signed just four players in the summer – and only Tanguy Ndombele has started a game so far – while a host of his existing players have doubts surrounding their future.

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Mauricio Pochettino, centre, was previously manager of Southampton (Chris Ison/PA)

That has led to a difficult start to the campaign, which has seen them win just two of their opening eight games in all competitions, but Pochettino says his challenge was much tougher than when he arrived in 2014.

Following his appointment as Tim Sherwood’s successor, he was tasked with overhauling a large squad that needed some experienced players shipping out and his mission this year is a similar one.

“Similar situation but different circumstances,” the Argentinian said. “Different solution and a different way to operate.

“I think it’s different. When I arrived, I didn’t know a single player. We found 34 players in the squad, my first 34 players, but now I know nearly all the players.

“It was difficult. Because it’s different in all the ways.

“When I arrived here, Daniel didn’t know me too much. He needed time to understand my philosophy, my ideas, how I need to work and why I didn’t reply when he sent text messages to me!

“He needed time to understand me. But now, Daniel knows how I am.

“The circumstances are completely different and the way I communicate with him is the same as last season.

“You cannot expect I communicate differently with Hugo (Lloris) now as last season or the season before.

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Tottenham’s chairman Daniel Levy, bottom row, centre, and Tottenham manager Pochettino (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“But when I arrived here, we needed to create a channel to communicate with each other. Many things like this.”

Spurs will be looking to kick-start their season against the Saints, the side Pochettino left to join the north London club five years ago.

The Argentinian knows there will be no room for sentiment, even if he remembers his time on the south coast fondly.

“It will be a very tough game,” he added. “Southampton are a very good team, I feel special things for Southampton, my former club, my first club in England, they gave me the opportunity to be in England, learn English, be in this amazing country, be part of this best league in the world I can only say amazing things about Southampton.

“They have very good players, a great manager and they are doing a fantastic job and it’s going to be tough.

“The opponent has a massive motivation to come and play Tottenham, who were the finalists of the Champions League. Of course we are a target for our opponents, to play in our amazing stadium, the best stadium in Europe.

PA

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