Pochettino has no complaints about schedule as Spurs prepare for three games in six days
Mauricio Pochettino insists he has no complaints about Tottenham’s schedule as the Lilywhites prepare to play three games in six days next week.
Spurs host Aston Villa on Monday night and then entertain Anderlecht in the Europa League on Thursday evening before visiting arch-rivals Arsenal in the North London Derby next Sunday.
But Tottenham’s head coach said: “I don’t like to complain about the schedule. You know the reality more than me because you are football people, and it’s tough to play Monday, Thursday and Sunday.
“But at the beginning of the season, in the meeting of all the teams, we accept the rules and the schedule. One side is the sport, then there’s the commercial side and we need to mix both and we can’t complain now.
“We need to accept it and we need to be ready and to work hard to try to avoid the problems that [come] when you play every two days. It’s not a big issue, we are ready to compete on Monday, Thursday and Sunday.
“During the 10 months it sometimes happens that you have a very tough week. But I think it’s not an excuse for not getting a good result in Europe. I think the balance is good, we cannot complain.”
For the second time this month, Pochettino and his staff have been doing their homework as they prepare to face a new manager at White Hart Lane.
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Former Spurs coach Tim Sherwood was sacked by Aston Villa on Sunday, leaving Kevin MacDonald in temporary charge of the Premier League’s basement boys while they search for a longer-term replacement.
“It happened against Liverpool when [Jurgen] Klopp arrived,” said Pochettino. “We were working very hard during the week because Klopp can play in different ways, as he showed at Dortmund - and after 10 minutes we realised how they wanted to play.
“They [Aston Villa] were at Southampton on Wednesday night and we have some ideas. It’s an advantage that the first game for the new manager was in the Capital One Cup against Southampton, but at the same time you never know what he will decide, which players he will pick, because it was in the middle of the week and a different competition. Now he has time to work and decide his strategy for Monday.
“We know him [MacDonald]. When Martin O’Neill was sacked [in 2010] he took the team and the job and before that he was with the Under-21s with Aston Villa and Swindon.
“He’s a manager that we have information on but the most important thing is how we take the game. We need to be focused, we need to forget that Aston Villa are last in the table.
“Every game is tough in the Premier League and they have the motivation to win the game, to show the new manager that they can compete. It’s the same as Liverpool - always the players want to show to the new manager that they can compete and they want to stay in the starting XI.
“I always tell the players - the opponent is never important, it’s how we take the game. We need to be focused and concentrate because we have had good examples against Anderlecht and Bournemouth.
“They were different opponents, different teams with different styles but always it’s our problem, it’s in our heads how we take it. We need to be focused in every game and training session and then deliver everything we’ve worked on during the week.”
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