Spurs boss Pochettino is prepared to sell last summer’s signings
Mauricio Pochettino says none of last summer’s signings are safe as he draws up the list of players he can do without and plans for next season at Tottenham.
Spurs signed Benjamin Stambouli from Montpellier at the start of the campaign but the Frenchman has only made one brief substitute appearance since the Lilywhites exited the Europa League in February, and Ben Davies has looked unconfident in his first season at White Hart Lane while there are question marks over Federio Fazio..
Tottenham have an important transfer window ahead as Pochettino attempts to build a more competitive squad – and he is willing to allow some of last summer’s recruits to depart after just one year in north London if he does not see a future for them.
“Always you need to analyse the last season and nobody is sure to stay at the club. But this is my job - to analyse, to assess and to take a decision,” he said.
“It is not [the case that we] we bring in a player and now he is sure [to stay], and he was poor during the season, now he stays. If not, why do you bring him?
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“It’s not only me, I think all managers take the same way in this situation. If you bring in a player and the performance was not good, it is not good. You take a decision. The thing that you bring, you try to sell. I don’t know, but you take a decision.”
Stambouli is not the only player to find himself out in the cold. His fellow Frenchmen Younes Kaboul and Etienne Capoue have not played since Spurs were knocked out of the FA Cup in January, and Emmanuel Adebayor is also out of favour. They are all expected to depart.
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While Pochettino comes across as warm and friendly in his press conferences and interviews, he says he has a “cold professional side” that means he is able to make the hard calls.
“You need to be professional when you take a decision,” he said. “I am very cold on my professional side because when I need to take a decision. Maybe I love some player in the personal way and as a human being, but he was poor, so I need to put him out of the starting 11. If I have a good relationship with this player and then he is poor, I have to be fair with the whole squad. I need to be professional and say ‘it’s for the best of the team’.
“Sometimes you don’t like some people but they are the best. If Messi is the best and you don’t have a very good feeling with him in the human side… you need to be professional. This is why sometimes people are confused because you have a very good relationship with some people. But you play because you have a good relationship? No, this is not true.
“My first speech, at Espanyol and Southampton and here, it is always that the player needs to understand my professional side and my human side.
“I am very friendly with all players and my door is open in the office, when you have a problem in your football or your personal life. But my decision is always professional and it is important that [they] have a clear idea about that.”
Pochettino admits it is difficult to keep every member of the squad happy: “It’s not easy, it’s never easy,” he said.
“In the way that we want to play and the way that we train, you can see there are not many injuries, so if you have 27 or 28 players in your squad it is difficult to pick all of them during the season.
“It’s not easy to always put eight players out [of the squad]. It’s not their fault – it’s our fault and for that we have to take the right decision. It’s important to have a squad where all players have the opportunity to play.”
Pochettino added: “I think the first thing that we want is to build a strong squad and to create a good dynamic in the team. We need to be clever in the way that we build the new squad. It’s difficult to compete with the money [that other clubs have], this is true, so we need to be clever.
“I like the good player and the right profile, with energy - an aggressive player, but who always can play under our philosophy, our way.
“It’s not about young or old. The most important thing the people need to know is that we need to build a very good squad, a very good team, to try to win the trophy.
“This is important because in football it’s not about bringing in players, young players, to develop these players and sell them. In football, our supporters and us, we are ambitious and we want to win the title. For that we need to create first a very good team and try to deliver that.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs