Pochettino aims to improve Tottenham’s mental strength next season
Mauricio Pochettino says one of his prioritises next season is to improve Tottenham’s mental strength.
Spurs have thrown away winning positions in their last three games against West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea and Southampton, dropping seven points in matches that they were winning at one stage.
And, while Pochettino is pleased with his side’s campaign, he admits that is one area that they need to improve.
Pochettino said: “We play during the year in different periods - we don’t only need to assess the last few games,” he said. “To move on, to grow up, to improve, we need to learn.
“Next season, more than tactics or physical condition, we need to improve the mental state. This is our challenge for next season.
“For us, it was the first season all together - this young group that plays for big things. If you analyse all the games, always we were better than our opponents but it’s not always about playing well sometimes. There’s another game you need to manage too.
“The mental state we need to improve, to be more mentally strong. You need to cross this line. In English it’s difficult to explain but in my mind, this my idea. Maybe my challenge is to improve my English for next season.”
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Pochettino also admits Tottenham will need to recruit this summer as the Lilywhites prepare to return to the Champions League for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
“We need to improve our squad - this is very clear,” he said. “Me, our supporters, our players, our squad - we are all agreed that we need to improve.
“It’s a different level to play in the Champions League. To play in the Champions League, Premier League and the cups, it’s important to have a very good balance. We need to improve our squad.”
Asked whether Spurs can realistically hope to replicate this season’s top-three finish next term, when they will also be facing the elite clubs in Europe, Pochettino said: “This is our challenge. For that, we need to improve our squad, to reduce the gap.
“The Champions League demands a lot of energy, more than the Europa League. It’s a very different competition. For that, we need to ensure we have a strong squad to compete in every competition.”
In the meantime, Tottenham are attempting to secure the runner-up spot in the Premier League and finish above arch-rivals Arsenal for the first time in 21 years.
A draw away against relgated Newcastle on Sunday will be enough to achieve that goal - yet Pochettino has downplayed the importance of the duel with the Gunners during the past week, and he did so again today.
“Our aims, our challenge is to stay as high as possible in the table. I don’t care what happens with different teams,” he said. “It’s impossible to be first - we need to try to be second. I don’t care which is the club that fights with us.
“In football, the supporters and their feelings are very important but we are professional. To move on, we need to sometimes put the emotions out, to be clever - we need to fight first to improve ourselves and be strong in our ideas.
“I can understand it - for our supporters it’s special to be above Arsenal but I want to be second not because we’ll be above our enemy, our opponent, but because we are ambitious.
“Maybe one day Arsenal finish eighth, we finish seventh - yes we’re above but it’s not a success for us. It’s very important to look at ourselves and enjoy the position that we are we are in, but we don’t care about our opponents.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs