‘I understand it’s the business’: Mauricio Pochettino admits his future is under scrutiny after Tottenham’s poor start to the season as they try and resurrect Champions League campaign against Red Star Belgrade
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino ran a hand through his lustrous locks and noted the absence of grey but he knows his future is under increasing scrutiny as his side continue to misfire.
Spurs have won only three out of a dozen games this season and a manager who has barely put a foot wrong since his arrival from Southampton in 2014 admits he is not immune when the results go awry.
‘I understand it’s the business,’ said Pochettino. ‘I am 47 and look why do you think that I don’t have white hair? It’s because I don’t pay attention to any of this.
Mauricio Pochettino acknowledges that his future at Tottenham is under growing scrutiny
His Tottenham side were thrashed 7-2 by Bayern Munich in their last Champions League outing
‘I only pay attention about the need to improve our performances. If we don’t improve our performance – and the results after – what will be the result? It is always the same in football. Yes, you are thinking the same as me.’
Having escaped another embarrassing defeat thanks to a late equaliser against Watford on Saturday, Tottenham are preparing for Red Star Belgrade and a return to the Champions League for the first time since they were hit for seven by Bayern Munich.
‘It’s natural to suffer after a defeat like that,’ said Pochettino, as he reflected on the worst home loss in Spurs’ history. ‘It affects confidence and trust. We are in a period where we are fragile like any team. In five years we put standards so high. The Champions League looks normal for Tottenham when five years ago it wasn’t normal.
Danny Rose and Christian Eriksen pictured in training ahead of Tuesday’s Red Star match
‘But of course rumour is rumour and expectation is expectation. It’s normal to have questions about training too much and we are tired. All the rumours can appear. Our only answer is to laugh.’
Perceptions may have changed since Tottenham reached the final in June but this campaign has started badly and got worse with a defeat at League Two Colchester in the Carabao Cup and the thrashing by Bayern.
‘It’s the pressure and the stress,’ said Pochettino.
‘You believe you need to run more and show we are all together, show we are with the manager, show we care. Run, run, run. Sometimes, though, it’s better to run less and use more intelligence.
‘Nearly all the players have enjoyed a good period at the club in the five-and-a-half years we have been here. Always very positive. So this, what is happening now, is a very new thing for us.’
Harry Kane rated it as his most difficult spell since breaking into the first team.
‘It’s not been easy,’ he said. ‘Of course we all want to be winning games, the manager wants to be winning games. But it’s about trying to overcome that.
‘It’s not going to be a straight path to success. There’s going to be bumps along the way. We’re at one and we’ve got to overcome that.’
Tottenham’s stadium is expected to be below capacity on Tuesday night as Red Star supporters are banned by UEFA as part of a penalty for racist behaviour in a qualifier at HJK Helsinki.
Striker Harry Kane pictured in Tottenham training on Monday as they prepare for Red Star
Kane smiles as he trains on Monday as Spurs look to resurrect their Champions League hopes
Son Heung-min pictured in training as Tottenham prepare for their next match on Tuesday