Pochettino discusses Tottenham’s involvement in Audi Cup ahead of Man United test

Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham’s participation in the Audi Cup this week has helped them to prepare for tomorrow’s Premier League clash against Manchester United, rather than hindered their efforts.

Spurs played Real Madrid in Munich on Tuesday and then faced AC Milan on Wednesday evening, less than three days before their first competitive game at Old Trafford.

The squad only returned to London from the tournament yesterday, but Pochettino is happy with the build-up to the match.

“Two games were not too much,” he said. “We shared minutes in the squad. When you play AC Milan or Madrid you need to be focused and aware. It is like you have started the season a week before. The two games were a very good test for us.

“It is not an easy start [against Man United], but it is never easy in the Premier League and all games are difficult. For us it is better to start with Manchester United at Old Trafford. We have experience. We arrive from Munich and played Real Madrid and AC Milan so we are fit to compete.”

Tottenham were beaten 3-0 when they last visited Manchester United in March, conceding all three goals inside the first 35 minutes – and Pochettino is hoping for a better performance at lunch-time tomorrow.

“You need to believe, you need to be brave and do your job,” he said. “We need to know it is a very important game for us and we need to be brave and maybe show a different performance to the last time we played at Old Trafford.

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“If we see the investment Man United made in the last transfer window and this transfer window, they invested a lot of money and signed a lot of players. Their target is to win the league, it is easy to see.”

Spurs fans will hope to see their club investing in some new recruits as well, particularly given that Harry Kane could be their only available senior striker this weekend.

Pochettino said: “You know that we need some players, we work very hard for that. But always [it has to be someone] with the right profile who can help the squad - he will come.

“I never speak about rumours. If you look, we have been linked with a lot of names but our targets are private. I hope it can happen quick.”

Asked whether Tottenham are aiming for the Champions League this season, Pochettino said: “This is our aim or our challenge, to reduce the gap to the top four. We need to put our targets higher [than last season]. But we know that we need to compete and improve our game and do better than last season.

“It may be difficult because I think to achieve fifth in the table was fantastic for us, over Liverpool. But now it is hard work to try to reduce the gap to the top four.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs