Pochettino: Spurs have no plans to sign a centre-back after Jan Vertonghen’s injury
Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham have no plans to sign another centre-back after losing Jan Vertonghen to injury, and he believes 18-year-old Cameron Carter-Vickers can step up and play for the first team if necessary.
Vertonghen suffered knee ligament damage during Spurs’ 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday, and there is time to recruit a replacement before the January transfer window closes on Monday night.
But Pochettino said: “We have a lot of players in defensive positions that can play. We have another youngster from the academy, Cameron Carter-Vickers.
“He’s young but he has enough quality and he’s been training with us from the beginning of the season and playing with the Under-21s.
“I think it’s a good opportunity [for him] to stay with us now more consistently. I don’t expect to [sign a player to] cover Jan Vertonghen, I think we have enough players to cover his injury.”
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As usual, Pochettino declined to discuss the players who have been linked with Spurs, including West Brom striker Saido Berahino and Fulham forward Moussa Dembele, while he gave short shrift to the suggestions that Chelsea are interested in making him their new permanent manager in the summer.
“It’s the same rumours as about the players,” he said. “There’s a lot of names now in the media – the facility to manage different clubs in the future. My focus is here, trying to achieve success with Tottenham and working hard.
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“I think I’ve explained in the last press conference, I always work for the present and for the future. I am very happy here.
“After 18 months we have created a very good group and we’ve set a very good basis to get success in the future. I am very happy. My job is to be focused on my job and not hear rumours, only to be focused on my job – this is the most important thing.”
Asked if the speculation bothers him, Pochettino said: “I don’t mind. We are exposed to receive the rumours and we are in a media where everything is about rumours sometimes. I don’t care about that.”
Someone who has left Tottenham this week is Andros Townsend, who completed a £12million move to Newcastle on Wednesday.
“I think it was important for him to try to find the club that gives him the facility to play consistently in the Premier League,” said Pochettino. “That facility wasn’t here but we keep a very good relationship.
“Players need to play and here we have different players and maybe he wasn’t my first choice. It’s normal that players always want to play and have the chance to join another club, and the club believes it was a good deal. We only want to wish him all the best in his new project, at his new club.”
Midfielder Mousa Dembele will seemingly not be departing any time soon after signing a new contract today (Friday), which ties him to Spurs until 2019.
“It’s very good news for us, and for the club and for him,” said Pochettino. “We are happy that he has extended his contract. He’s a great player with great quality and I think he’s one of the important players for us and we’re all happy he will be staying with us.
“We need to review the history a little bit. I think maybe he was injured from the beginning [of last season], he had different problems, but the circumstances are always different.
“It’s true he improved a lot from my point of view, he improved a lot from last season. We’re very happy with the way he improved his quality and his mentality, and I think the club are very happy he has extended his contract now.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs