Press conference analysis: Pochettino talks goalkeeper distribution, Kane/Alli and Crystal Palace
Tottenham started their season with a good point away to Everton, considering a number of their players underperformed. Dele Alli and Harry Kane in particular looked a shadow of the players they were last season, but there were positives to take from the game. Mauricio Pochettino is coming into the new season with a settled squad unlike many of his peers and that could prove to be an advantage over the first few weeks. A quick start to the season is imperative, as they will be playing Champions League football from September and they don’t want to be playing catch up at that stage.
The Argentine spoke to the press on Thursday ahead of their match against Crystal Palace and he some interesting things to say about the importance of distribution in his philosophy. This is in the news due to Joe Hart being left out by Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and it is clear that Pochettino places a lot of importance in distribution as well. He said ‘We give a very important place to the keeper for us in our philosophy. I think the keeper to play with his feet is very important because always we build from back or try to build from back and that is our philosophy’.
This is interesting as Pochettino clearly agrees with Guardiola that it is vital to have a goalkeeper who can distribute the ball effectively. It helps the side build attacks from deep, which Pochettino likes his sides to do. After joining the club, he was quick to sign Michel Vorm, who is excellent with his feet, while Hugo Lloris has improved his distribution a lot since Pochettino took over. The squad at White Hart Lane has been moulded to fit Pochettino’s ideals and he is now into his third season. As such he is a lot longer down the line than Guardiola is in terms of squad building.
He moved on to talk about the fitness of both Harry Kane and Dele Alli. Neither played well in the opening fixture, but Pochettino was quick to defend his players and realises that they aren’t capable of playing at high intensity all year long. On the subject, Pochettino stated ‘It is very important sometimes to understand they are not machines, they are human and they need to train hard, they need to rest and it is not easy’.
These comments are fascinating and tell us a lot about the struggles of managing individuals. Everybody knows how good Harry Kane and Dele Alli can be and they are expected to perform at that level on a weekly basis. However, Pochettino recognises that it isn’t that simple and he needs to manage them correctly in order to get the best out of them. He also mentioned the mental stresses in the modern game and these can be more difficult to deal with than the physical strain. The failure with England has likely taken a lot out of both and Pochettino realises that he needs to protect them as much as he possibly can, otherwise deeper damage could be inflicted.
On the match itself, Pochettino isn’t convinced that Crystal Palace will be an easy match after their disappointing end to last season. They look to have carried that form into the new campaign after losing their opening fixture with West Brom. When asked if he sensed a vulnerability with Crystal Palace, he answered ‘I think it’s a different season and we know how they play. It will difficult to beat them, but I think in the Premier League, all the games are tough’.
Although Crystal Palace are struggling, Pochettino was correct in his evaluation on the game. Every match is difficult in the Premier League and shocks are always around the corner as we saw during the opening weekend. Hull were written off as relegation fodder, but they managed to turn over the reigning champions. Pochettino knows the threat of Crystal Palace, especially on the counter attack and the lack of expectation on them only makes them more dangerous. He isn’t taking these three points as a given and as a result, Tottenham will be better prepared for the match.
Featured image: All rights reserved by kody.platter
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