Chadli: There’s a ‘real connection’ between Tottenham’s players and a hunger in the squad
Nacer Chadli says there is a “real connection” between Tottenham’s players and believes their young squad is giving them a hunger to succeed.
The 26-year-old Belgian joined Spurs from FC Twente in the summer of 2013 and he has noticed some important improvements since then.
“I think the training sessions have improved a lot and the group we have, we have a real connection with each other, and you can see it,” he said.
“If you have a good relationship with your team-mates it’s always better than if you have a bad relationship. I think we have a good relationship with each other and that makes a difference. We have a good balance in our group and a lot of young players.
“It’s important to have a young group because when you’re young you’re still hungry to win something. There have been a lot of improvements since I arrived and hopefully we can also improve in the future.
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“Is there more hunger now than when I arrived? Yes, for sure. Everybody is different but I can feel the group is like this. You can see it in the way we play.
“We’re on a good run now. We win games more easily than in the past and we’re hard to beat as well so I think we’ve improved a lot since last season.”
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Chadli has been absent since October after suffering ankle ligament damage in the goalless draw with Liverpool at White Hart Lane.
But he is available to face Monaco in Spurs’ final Europa League group game this evening, along with Nabil Bentaleb – who has not played for Spurs since the end of August due to his own ankle injury.
Mousa Dembele is missing due to illness, while Ryan Mason is also out of action, but Mauricio Pochettino is pleased to be able to call on Chadli and Bentaleb again.
“They are in contention and in the squad,” said the head coach. “It’s very good news for us, to add players like them – we’re happy they are involved again. It’s a difficult job for me to pick the players for different games but we have a lot of games ahead and you always want all the players fit and then it’s my job to pick the right players for every game.”
Tottenham have already qualified for the knock-out stages in the Europa League and sit top of Group J ahead of this evening’s game at White Hart Lane, so Pochettino concedes he is likely to rotate his squad.
However, the Argentine is also keen to get the point that would cement first place, meaning Spurs would avoid the four best teams that drop down from the Champions League.
“The [selection] decision was tough when we played against Qarabag in Azerbaijan and now it’s tough again, but all players deserve to have the opportunity [to play],” he said.
“We always share information with the sports science and medical departments and then take our best decision for every game.
“This is a good opportunity to win the game and to finish first in the group – this is our objective, our challenge.
“Maybe there will be one or two more [changes than usual] but not too much. I think the squad we have is strong enough to compete in different competitions. Maybe if you compare with the game against Qarabag there will be some changes, but not too much.
“It’s an important game. We want to win and to maintain the performances we have shown at home this season. It’s important to finish first.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs