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Mauricio Pochettino’s comments after Tottenham’s Champions League qualification show disappointing mentality

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Photo: Getty Images.

Tottenham fans may have been delighted by Champions League qualification for their side after a narrow victory over Newcastle United, but manager Mauricio Pochettino‘s post-match comments may not have been quite as impressive.

“It’s a fantastic achievement,” the coach told the club’s official website.

“I want to say ‘thank-you’ to the players, first of all, because they have worked so hard to achieve this and big congratulations to our staff and everyone at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

“It has been a difficult season for the fans and they deserve big credit too.

“It was difficult – it always is in the Premier League, there are no easy games as we’ve seen in the last few weeks – and the effort has been fantastic all season.

“It’s never easy when you have the pressure to win and play against a team that is free to run and make mistakes and play so deep, like Newcastle. In the end it’s job done and again, I congratulate the players.

“To be in the Champions League next season is massive for the Club.”

(during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at Wembley Stadium on May 9, 2018 in London, England.

In many respects, Pochettino’s comments are justified. Spurs cannot compete with the likes of the Manchester clubs financially and given their wages and spending it would be an impressive achievement to finish above the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

But as is becoming more and more concerning for Lilywhites fans, it does not reflect a desire to win silverware that fans so desperately crave. Year after year Tottenham fail to capitalise on their potential and after pushing both Leicester and Chelsea close for the title in recent years, this season they seem content with securing a Champions League spot.

With a young squad who are now coming into their prime, Mauricio Pochettino and co. should be aiming much higher than simply qualifying for the Champions League. A comparison with the likes of Liverpool, whose squad is much less rounded than Tottenham’s and has some significant weaknesses, reflects just where Tottenham could go in different circumstances.

Few doubt that Pochettino is the ideal man for the job, but given that he is yet to lift a trophy in his career and his comments are showing that he is happy with just qualifying for European football, there may be some concerned about the club’s ambition.

It may concern Spurs fans, but there is a risk of Tottenham becoming the new Arsenal in only aiming for a fourth placed finish and celebrating it. With such quality at Pochettino’s disposal, even on a small budget, that should be the bare minimum, rather than the expectation.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. c b waters

    May 11, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    This was always going to be a tricky season for us. We made a massive mistake in selling Walker one season too early (he could have been convinced to stay during this tough Wembley season, with a promise of moving on this summer). Plus none of our games were at a place we could genuinely call ‘home’. For all clubs playing at Wembley, it’s a privilege and a neutral venue. So to finish Top 4 is a superb achievement for us. Yes, we have to strengthen our mentality (as well as our squad) in the one-off big games, if we’re ever going to win a trophy or two with this squad, but we’ve showed we can compete with the giants of Europe, and even better them for most of the game time. In terms of PL consistency we can hold our heads high (beating everyone except City) and although we’ve been off the boil since the Chelsea win, we’ve done very well to ensure we can take CL football into our new stadium. It will be a tragedy if Spurs don’t win a trophy with this squad, because we’ve won trophies with far lesser squads in the past. But I’m convinced that we’ll bring in some decent players, while others like Winks, KWP and Foyth could well progress rapidly. Keeping the core players will be a challenge but, because it IS a challenge (for them) to win trophies with Spurs, I’m sure we’ll be OK. Without being deluded, Poch can be vital in ensuring we finally have a team that can BEAT far richer clubs, more regularly, clubs that will have more expensive and better paid players, but not a ‘team’ that can prevent our Glory.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Salomon Rondon would be ideal back-up for Harry Kane and Tottenham

Josh Kerr

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Salomon Rondon
Photo: Getty Images

According to reports from the Daily Mirror, Tottenham Hotspur are interested in adding West Bromwich Albion‘s Salomon Rondon to their attacking ranks.

The recently relegated striker will be hoping to stay in the Premier League and Mauricio Pochettino can ensure that happens for the Venezuela international.

Harry Kane has been a revelation once again for the Lilywhites firing 30 league goals this season and was also nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award.

However, Pochettino has still not found a suitable back-up for the Englishman and is already looking for another replacement.

Fernando Llorente was signed from Swansea last season after Vincent Janssen failed to make an impact in north London.

However, the 33-year-old striker could not improve on his 15 goal tally for the Swans that kept them in the top flight a year ago.

The Spanish forward has one goal in 16 Premier League appearances for Spurs and it’s understandable that Pochettino already wants a replacement.

Rondon would not be a signing that should get fans excited by any means.

After all, he does not represent a world-class striker in the slightest and, similarly to Llorente, he has spent the majority of his Premier League career scrapping at the bottom end of the table.

Despite finishing rock bottom in the league this campaign, Rondon was one of those who emerged from the season with some credibility, scoring 10 goals in all competitions for the Baggies.

The Baggies forward is a striker who has often looked isolated and lacking options in a West Brom side that has struggled to get the best out of him.

In a flourishing Spurs team, his Premier League goal tally, of 24, could steadily improve.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Rondon has a relegation release clause in his contract that can see him leave the Midlands side for a reported fee of £16.5 million.

This may be off-putting for Spurs fans as the fee is not cheap considering the Venezuelan’s lack of firepower.

However, at 28, he is five years younger than Llorente and would only cost £2 million more than the fee they paid for the Spaniard, so it’s not the worst transfer when wanting more attacking options.

There’s no doubt that Llorente has struggled at Wembley this season and at 33, Levy may be tempted to move the former Juventus striker on and refresh his forward line.

A club of Spurs’ stature will always be linked with bigger names, but Rondon could still be a smart appointment for the Londoners.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham fans react to latest Mousa Dembele contract setback

Josh Kerr

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Mousa Dembele
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According to the Evening Standard, Mousa Dembele’s agent claims the Belgian international will not sign a new contract with Tottenham Hotspur before the summer World Cup.

The 30-year-old is set to enter the final year of his Spurs contract, which expires on June 30 next year, and the club’s supporters are understandably growing impatient.

According to earlier reports by the MirrorMauricio Pochettino is ready to listen to offers for the likes of Mousa Dembele, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Moussa Sissoko.

Dembele was one of the names shortlisted and has been a revelation in his six seasons at the club.

However, despite another successful season in north London, the former Fulham midfielder is likely to put an end to his love affair with the Lilywhites.

Dembele’s current deal expires in 12 months and, after starting just 21 of 38 League games, he may be considering other options for the final years of his career.

Spurs fans reacted to his agent’s comments, with the majority urging Pochettino to offload the powerhouse midfielder this summer and find a suitable replacement for the Belgium superstar.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur news round-up: Pochettino signs, De Ligt hope and Wanyama commits

All the big news from Tottenham Hotspur today.

Mathew Coull

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Poch signs on

It has been a busy day at Tottenham Hotspur, starting off with the excellent news about Mauricio Pochettino.

The Argentine, who has been linked with a number of top jobs in world football, has committed his future to the North London club.

He has signed a deal to remain Spurs boss until 2023, along with his coaching staff.

It is a deal that will undoubtedly please the Tottenham fans, and has the chairman. Daniel Levy said of the deal on the club’s official website:

“Mauricio has fostered an incredible spirit in the team and has embraced a style of play our fans have loved watching. I know they will welcome this commitment by Mauricio.”

For many Tottenham fans this is the most important signing of the summer. Losing Pochettino would have been a nightmare scenario for the club and getting him tied down so early in the summer is a massive boost for everyone at the club.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

De Ligt-ful transfer on the cards

Spurs are also in talks over bringing Dutch international defender Matthijs De Ligt to North London. The 18-year-old talent is being lined up as a potential replacement for Toby Alderweireld, who is being targeted by Manchester United.

The London Evening Standard report that Spurs are hopeful their good relationship with Ajax can help them secure a deal. In the past Spurs have signed Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez from the Amsterdam club and believe that may weigh in their favour.

The teenager would be a magnificent recruit for Spurs, so this is one story to keep an eye on.

Spurs are also said to be keeping tabs on Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazi of West Brom. ESPN claim Spurs are tracking the player, valued at around £2.5 million.

Wanyama staying

Whilst Alderweireld looks like he is going, one player who isn’t is Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama.

It has been suggested he could be moved on to make funds this summer with replacements being lined up.

But Spurs’ battle-hardened midfielder is not keen on an exit. Speaking to Goal he made it clear he has no desire of leaving Tottenham this summer.

Spurs fans will hope that is the case, despite his indifferent form and fitness this term. Wanyama is still a valuable member of the Tottenham team and they will hopefully manage to keep him at the club.

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