Pochettino: Striker decision is part of a strategy to help Spurs through ‘a very tough period’
Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham’s decision not to sign a striker in January is part of a long-term strategy which will help them through “a very tough period” during the construction of their new £400million stadium.
A number of fans feel Spurs have taken a big risk by declining to sign cover for Harry Kane, especially as the Lilywhites are on course for a return to the Champions League and are only five points off the top of the Premier League.
But, when that concern was raised at Pochettino’s press conference today (Thursday), the head coach spent four and a half uninterrupted minutes on his explanation.
At times it seemed he was attempting to address the club’s supporters directly, via the reporters around him, as he delivered a lengthy, integrated explanation of Spurs’ thinking and their plans for remaining competitive while they move to their new home.
“For me, I don’t feel that our supporters are worried about the team,” Pochettino began. “After that, if we can see the stats, our goal difference is plus 25. I think we are in a very strong position when you compare to other teams.
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“Football is about players, positions, but I think that it’s [also] about balance and we have a very good balance.
“Today our people need to understand that Tottenham have changed the vision, not of the football but in the way that we take decisions.
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“For us today it is very important to keep the balance, to find the right player - not only the striker but in different positions. You need to realise and the people need to realise that today to improve our squad is a very difficult job. It’s easier to bring in or to find in the market different names and to pay money and to bring players, but it’s not the way that we [decided upon] 18 months ago.
“For us it’s very important to settle the strong basis and, from that, start to build a strong squad - because the potential of the club is massive for the future.
“We have in front of us a very tough period. From Spain I hear a lot - because I read a lot, always using Google Translate from English to Spanish – that [Arsenal manager] Arsene Wenger says ‘the toughest period of the club was in the period that we built the stadium’. And now I think that you need to know, and the people need to know, that this is a very tough period for us.
“I think that the people are excited to see how we play but we need to be careful, because we need to arrive to the new stadium in a very good condition to try to fight for everything and try to show that we are one of the best clubs and teams in the world.”
Pochettino continued: “It’s easier for me to say ‘ok, we bring this and this and this player’, but if we don’t believe that it can improve our squad, why?
“We have many players that can play like a striker like Sonny [Heung-Min Son] or [Nacer] Chadli, that have shown they can score - and after, we have younger players that train with us like Shayon [Harrison] and, in behind, I told you about [Kazaiah] Sterling and different players.
“We need to give the chance to believe in the younger players, because for our future they will be very important players. But now we are in February and we have three months of competition ahead. It’s always difficult to bring players in who always need time to settle, and I think that we have a perfect balance now.
“If in the end we achieve big things, ok, all are happy - but if not, I think that we create a very good basis to achieve [things] in the next season maybe.
“But I think the project is very clear and I think that we need to believe in that even more when we face a difficult moment to take decisions.
“I have read some players, like Toby [Alderweireld], have said that at Tottenham now there are ‘no heroes’, that we are all together and our key is to be all together and to feel that.
“This is an important thing and a message for all of our supporters. I think the energy that we create and the synergy between our supporters and the team, I think that is very important for our future.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs