Press conference analysis: Pochettino talks Stoke and Moussa Sissoko's chances of featuring
Tottenham have had a decent start to the league season, picking up five points from their opening three matches, but they will be hoping to push on after the international break. Mauricio Pochettino has strengthened his squad since the club’s last match with Moussa Sissoko, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and Pau Lopez arriving. They have a Champions League match this week and it will be interesting to see how Pochettino deals with the competition, as it is a new challenge for him. He has spoken to the press ahead of the trip to Stoke City and looked to be excited for the week ahead.
The first question he was asked on Thursday was about Sissoko and he responded ‘I think he is a player that can help us a lot. I think you know how he is because last season he was at Newcastle and the Euros that he played was fantastic. I think he is another player that can help us. We have a very good squad, very good players and he is a player that can bring experience. He is a player that is fast, strong and difficult to play’.
It was a surprising move from Spurs to break their transfer policy to bring Moussa Sissoko to the club, but Pochettino’s comments suggest that it was a deal that needed to be done. It is interesting that he talks about the Frenchman’s pace and strength as these are attributes that Tottenham have been lacking in attack. He went on to say that he will assess Sissoko before the weekend, but it would be a surprise if he doesn’t make his debut at Stoke.
Pochettino will need to rotate more often this season due to the Champions League and he was asked if he would rest players this weekend. He answered ‘No, because the most important game is Saturday against Stoke. We won’t change, because Wednesday we have another important game. The Stoke game is the most important.’
He went on to mention how their squad is strong enough to compete in both competitions. As this is the first Champions League match, there isn’t pressure to rotate yet as the players won’t be fatigued, but it is something he needs to consider in October and November. In the Europa League, he rested his entire first eleven at times, which meant the competition had minimal impact on the league campaign. However, they can’t do the same with the Champions League, as it is the premier club competition. Tottenham must attack the competition as they don’t know when they will qualify again. Pochettino will need to find the right balance, but that test will arrive later.
On the match itself, Pochettino was respectful to Stoke as he often is during pre-match press conferences. He said ‘it will be a very tough game. They signed some very good players too. They changed a little bit their squad and I think it is always tough to play, because in the Premier League, every game is tough’.
The Tottenham manager is always cautious when discussing opposition and isn’t a manager who will be drawn into mind games. He doesn’t say many things that can be deemed controversial and that is a positive thing. The focus on Spurs is always on the next game. Although he is respectful to Stoke, the comments are designed to prevent complacency within his squad. Privately, he will be demanding a victory from this match, as Stoke have started poorly and their squad isn’t as good as the one that Pochettino has at White Hart Lane. It is a game that they should be looking to win if they are to finish in the top four again and the Argentine head coach knows that.
Featured image: All rights reserved by bongda0011
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