Mauricio Pochettino’s Press Conference: Chelsea vs Tottenham

ENFIELD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 4: Tottenham Hotspur Manager Mauricio Pochettino during a press conference at the clubs' training ground on November 4, 2016 in Enfield, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
ENFIELD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 4: Tottenham Hotspur Manager Mauricio Pochettino during a press conference at the clubs' training ground on November 4, 2016 in Enfield, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images) /

In two days, Tottenham will travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in a big London derby. The Blues right now are Spurs’ toughest challenge to date.

Earlier today Mauricio Pochettino spoke to reporters and offered his thoughts on numerous topics as the Tottenham manager prepares his squad to try and knock out the Premier League leaders at Stamford Bridge.

Beginning with some basic team news: injuries, suspension and the like, Pochettino addressed how Spurs will deal with their left-back situation within the coming days. Though the 44-year-old did assuage the fear of supporters that there are options to choose from.

“We played against Sunderland with Jan Vertonghen at full-back, we can play with Kieran Trippier on the left or we can play with Kevin Wimmer. We have different options to play.” Pochettino said (via Spurs’ official site).

Related Story: Who Starts for Tottenham Against Chelsea?

“After Monaco we need to assess the players and tomorrow we have another training session to decide the players that are available to play. Ben [Davies] is still out, he is injured and Danny Rose is suspended.”

As for Toby Alderweireld? There’s an update but still no definitive return date for the Belgian international, but he will miss Saturday’s match against Chelsea. Érik Lamela is also sidelined still.

“It’s true that, before, our expectation was for him [Alderweireld] to recover. It’s true that we miss him a lot but we are happy – today he was involved with the squad to do some boxes and with the ball.” Mauricio Pochettino added.

“I don’t want to be wrong again, we hope that as soon as possible he can be available again. We’ll see tomorrow if he can do the whole training session and next week will be key at the end of the week to see if he will be available or not for Swansea.”.

Next up, Pochettino answered questions regarding the team’s mentality following their exit in the Champions League at the hands of Monaco, how to improve their current results (two wins in all competitions since the start of October) and using different formations in recent games.

Editor’s note: Questions were edited for clarity.

How do you lift the players’ spirits after losing to Monaco?

“I always try to be honest. I think the most important thing is to be critical with myself first and then the players. Like always I was very honest – we struggled to be competitive in two tough competitions like the Premier League and Champions League. We struggled a lot and we didn’t show enough quality to compete and to be at the top.”

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“In the Premier League we are unbeaten after 12 games and after five games in the Champions League we lost three and that is no use. We didn’t show enough quality to be competitive in both competitions, I think that is very obvious and I think we all agree about that.”

How will you go about improving the team following this difficult stretch?

“Always from experience you can learn. You need the experience to have the possibility to improve. For us it was a great experience – a tough experience because we are out in the group stage but a great experience because we need to be prepared in different ways or maybe to be more strong and take that competition in a different way in the future.”

“We need to try to assess now what happened from the beginning and try to solve it for the future. Always it’s important to improve.”

Is the current depth a problem?

“No, I think that maybe after the Monaco game in different comments, maybe I talked about not having enough quality. Maybe it was difficult for us to show our quality in both competitions.”

“We are unbeaten in the Premier League and to show the same quality in the Champions League was the problem for us. I think that we’ve had a very good squad from the beginning.”

“I always told you that we have very good players but we struggled to show that we have enough quality to share both competitions.”

Any particular reason for the different formations used in recent weeks?

“We played with a different formation last season against Watford but it’s true that after Arsenal, against West Ham and Monaco we started to play again with four at the back.”

“Maybe it was a different formation from the beginning but in the end the same philosophy and same principles apply. After Leverkusen when we lost at Wembley, we believed the team needed to try to play in a different way to try to surprise the opponent, to feel a little bit different on the pitch.”

Next: Tottenham Face Biggest Test Yet in Chelsea

Obviously there were other questions that were asked but the ones listed above are probably the best ones that targets the multiple issues regarding Spurs’ current form at the moment.

Whether these issues will be solved instantly on Saturday against a Chelsea side who are unbeaten in their last six Premier League matches, remains to be seen. But Mauricio Pochettino tends to do quite well when it comes to managing London derbies.