Proud of his team for finishing above Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid to top Group H of the Champions League, Mauricio Pochettino discussed that accomplishment and other news before Saturday’s match.
Victor Wanyama is back in full training and progressing well, said Pochettino, who isn’t yet able to convey to a potential return date. He believes the Kenyan midfielder will feature before the end of 2017, but said it’s “on him to get the right feeling, to say I’m here, to be available.”
A journalist grilled the gaffer about the notorious Danny Rose situation, asking him if he thinks the Englishman will still be a Spurs player next season.
“I think this is not a moment to talk about that,” he said. “All the players have contracts with us. All are involved in our project.”
Pochettino was visibly annoyed about the relentless line of questioning, and rightfully so. The gaffer has more important things on his mind, like preparing for a potentially trying contest against West Brom on Saturday.
That very same Sky Sports journalist then asked if Pochettino “got at” the players after the Arsenal defeat at the Emirates. He obviously doesn’t understand the gaffer’s character. He replied in earnest:
"“No, no, no. No, I was so calm because I thought the effort was so fantastic.”"
Pochettino sympathizes with Tony Pulis but says nothing surprises him anymore. Years ago, he said, this type of dismissal would have left him befuddled. He now knows this kind of occurrence is commonplace, part and parcel with modern football ongoings.
Not knowing the West Brom interim manager’s tactics or mindset, Pochettino was asked if it will be harder to prepare for this week’s match.
"“Yes exactly, because you have an idea, because you prepare all the information under Tony Pulis’ management,” he said. “But it’s true, maybe they can change now.”"
Tottenham have struggled in recent matches at home against inferior teams, something Pochettino is acutely aware of, and is trying to address.
"“We need to improve in our positional game, in the last third, in the opposition’s half,” he said. “I think sometimes we need to show more patience.”"
Spurs can ill-afford to lose anymore Premier League matches if they are to eventually rein in runaway leaders Manchester City, who, on current form, already look beyond reach.