Spurs boss Pochettino frustrated to be losing his international players again after Liverpool clash
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admits he is frustrated that a host of his players will be departing for international duty again after this weekend’s round of fixtures.
The Spurs boss has already voiced his feeling that the Premier League season could have started later, giving senior stars across the top flight more time to recover after Euro 2016 – and he has already lost France captain Hugo Lloris to a hamstring injury.
Now, with the Lilywhites approaching only their third game of the fledgling campaign, the Argentine is resigned to losing the majority of his squad again.
“That is the business, it’s football and we cannot change the rules,” said Pochettino. “I think it’s too early to start the competition again with the national team. But we can’t change anything.
“We can complain but it’s true that it’s difficult the games will involve the same players on the international teams.
“There is nothing we can do. The players want to be involved in the national team. It’s an opportunity to play for your country, to play for a place in the next World Cup. It’s important to them because of that.
“It’s very important how we manage it and, in different games, the squad is important. Like last week, Dele Alli was sick for two or three days and it was impossible for him to train. Then you cannot kill the player, they are not machines. It’s important how to manage them so they are fit to compete all season.”
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Despite his misgivings, Pochettino has no intention of talking to England’s new manager Sam Allardyce to suggest that Spurs’ players should get special treatment.
“I don’t need to speak to him and he doesn’t need to explain anything to me,” said the Spurs boss. “I am available always to receive him here if he needs some advice or to talk to me about the players.”
The good news for Pochettino is that Lloris is on schedule to return after the international break and face Stoke on September 10.
“He’s very good,” said the manager. “It’s difficult for Saturday [against Liverpool] but it’s sure that after the international break he’s with us again and available for the team.
“We’re happy because it wasn’t a big issue, his injury, and we believe and we think he’s available very soon. He’s not available to play [for France], he’ll stay with us in the next two weeks.”
Lloris and the suspended Mousa Dembele are the only absentees for this Saturday’s home game against Liverpool, and Pochettino confirmed that Kevin Wimmer is fit and available, having been missing from the squad in the opening two fixtures.
“It will be a very tough game,” said the manager. “I remember when we played last season [at White Hart Lane], it was [Jurgen] Klopp’s first game in charge - it was tough.
“They like to play on the counter-attack. They are quick, they have good organisation, they love to counter-attack.
“It’s different to us. We like to manage the ball, play in possession, play in the opposition’s half - we are a different team with a different philosophy. It’ll be tough - they come from a difficult loss against Burnley and they’ll want to give their best.”
Spurs supporters have been enjoying replays of Erik Lamela’s nutmeg on his former team-mate Andros Townsend in Saturday’s home win over Crystal Palace – but Pochettino was less enthused.
“I can understand our fans’ reaction – it’s a very good thing in football. But to be honest, I don’t like this type of thing,” he said. “I enjoy when my players score goals and we’re winning games.
“For me, it was an action, but there’s nothing to say. It didn’t create any emotion in myself – only it was an action. But I understand it’s football and our supporters like this kind of action.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs