Mauricio Pochettino ‘so happy’ to see summer signing Fernando Llorente on scoresheet for Tottenham Hotspur
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Spurs manager thrilled to see ex-Juventus forward find the net and reveals Danny Rose needed stitches after ‘massive cut’ to his head
Mauricio Pochettino expressed his delight at seeing Fernando Llorente score his first goal for Tottenham Hotspur during their 3-0 win over APOEL in Group H of the Champions League on Wednesday and admitted it was important for the forward.
The summer signing from Swansea City has struggled since making the switch from Wales towards the end of the transfer window.
Llorente has missed excellent chances in recent cameo appearances at Leicester City and Borussia Dortmund, but, in just his fourth start for the club, he impressed under the Wembley lights.
A composed finish in the 20th minute capped a bright start for the 32-year-old before he assisted Heung-min Son’s curling strike and was a threat throughout.
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“I’m very pleased with Fernando and it’s so important for him. When you are a striker you need to feel the net and score and it was fantastic for him,” said Pochettino.
“Of course, a player always need time to adapt to show their qualities and provide for the team.
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“When you arrive at a new club with no pre-season, always you need time and when you don’t have the maximum possibility to play it’s so difficult to get fit and find your best level.
“I’m so happy because 90 minutes is so important for many players that waited a long time to feel this because playing 90 is always different compared to playing 30, 20 or 15. It is important for them to feel they can cope with the effort of playing 90.”
Tottenham’s manager hinted he could sense Llorente was relieved after the victory following a run of 16 games without a goal for his new club.
When his maiden strike finally arrived, it was worth the wait with Harry Winks spraying a wonderful pass out to Serge Aurier.
The right-back crossed in for Llorente, who controlled and swivelled all in one moment before stroking the ball home.
Pochettino added: “Yes, I said before that he waited a lot to score again. A striker needs to feel the net and you know very well how they feel if they wait week and week to score and if they don’t, they always are very nervous.
“It’s not only about playing, it’s about scoring, so yes I’m happy. He’s so happy now and he’s a player who is going to help a lot.
“He is helping, but now I think with more confidence and belief, he is going to help the team even more.”
Another player who, like Llorente, has not started many games this term is left-back Danny Rose.
The England international is slowly working his way back following a long-term knee injury suffered last January.
Rose impressed at Wembley alongside Aurier and despite some nervy defensive moments, he continues to show his importance for Spurs.
He didn’t complete the match though, after suffering a nasty injury to his head in the 67th minute, which forced him to be substituted.
A replay showed Rose looking frustrated after leaving the field and being told he wouldn’t go back on, but any rumours of a falling out were quickly put to bed when a video emerged of Pochettino and the left-back smiling and joking after the game.
“Danny had a massive cut,” said the Tottenham manager when quizzed about the full-backs substitution.
“He needed stitches and it was unnecessary to take a risk as he needed to go inside and get stitches. He needed four or five stitches, I don’t remember for sure, but it was deep.”
Rose’s injury was the only negative on a largely perfect night for Pochettino and his players at Wembley.