Settled Spurs give Pochettino reason for optimism
Having moved into new stadium, Tottenham manager says 'it's going to be different' in coming season
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has sounded a warning to his rivals, saying "it's going to be different" in the coming English Premier League season.
Spurs' previous campaign was marked by delays to the opening of their new 62,000-capacity Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
But, having settled into their new home since April, Pochettino's men will be looking to improve on their performance last season, during which they finished fourth in the EPL and reached the Champions League final.
“Every season, we expect to do things differently," the 47-year-old Argentinian said in a press conference on Friday (July 19) ahead of their International Champions Cup (ICC) match against Juventus at the National Stadium on Sunday.
“The priority (last season) was to finish the new stadium but now it’s not the excuse of building a new stadium, plenty has settled and it’s going to be different from the last few years.”
While losing to Liverpool in last month's Champions League final is still painful, Pochettino said the team have to move on and be motivated for the next season.
“Spurs are a massive inspiration for some teams,” he said. "In the last four years, we’ve been fighting with big clubs with different tools. It’ll be a massive challenge next season, but we are brave.
“Of course, every season is a massive challenge for everyone, it’s not only my personal challenge, it’s also a club challenge, it’s a player challenge and mix that all together, we need time to settle and be in a good place to try to work and design a plan to be in a very good position in the Premier League and, of course, in the Champions League too.”
Striker Harry Kane added that while the defeat by Liverpool was hard to take because the team knew they “could’ve done better and done more”, they will reflect ahead of the coming season.
“As a team, we need to do better in the big games and, when we get opportunities like we did last year, we have to take them. It starts now, the hard work, determination and focus for a good season,” said the 25-year-old.
The England international added that the team have built on their progress over the last five years and are looking for further improvement.
“When we look back five years ago, the goal was to be playing Champions League football and we went a lot quicker than what people expected and what we expected.
“Now, we’re in our new stadium and we’ve played a few games there, so everything can build and progress, there are no excuses.”
Fans can look forward to seeing the likes of Kane, Dele Alli and Son Heung Min in action against Juventus on Sunday.
However, attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen, who was training alone on Friday, might not get much field time as he’s recovering from a minor surgery. Additionally, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris missed the session due to tonsillitis
Pochettino added: “All the players have the possibility of playing on Sunday. Maybe we just need to check on Christian, the rest so far they are all good to play. We are going to mix (the players), some are going to start, some are going to be on the bench and play in the second half.
“I haven’t decided the starting line-up but, for all the fans, relax, all the players are going to be on the pitch. It’s just whether they’re playing in the first half or the second half.”
In another ICC game, Manchester United take on Inter Milan on Saturday (July 20) at 7.30pm at the National Stadium.