We are victims of our own success because we are ahead in our project, says Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino
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The 46-year-old explains how Spurs are ahead of schedule when it comes to their standing in England ahead of moving into the new White Hart Lane
Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham Hotspur are victims of their own success when it comes to expectations of the club.
Spurs’ defeat in last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final means they will end the season trophyless for the 10th season in a row, but they are on course to qualify for the Champions League for the third season in a row.
“The expectation always is massive,” says Pochettino. “We are victims of our own success because I think we are ahead in our project.
“I remind you that in my first meeting with Daniel [Levy] and Joe Lewis, the target was to arrive in the new stadium in four years and to create a team to have the possibility to fight for the top four, and in the second year [there] to play in the Champions League. Look, we are victims [of our success].
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“I tried to explain this season, it’s not easy to accept being close, nearly touching and being disappointed, then near again and disappointed. But that is normal.
“The easy thing to do is give up and say we need to change everything and blame this and that. No, keep going, pushing hard and, with all the energy, try again.
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“That is the realistic project for Tottenham and it’s fantastic because we are different and we need to keep going.”
Spurs are due to move into their new stadium next season, with an increased capacity bringing extra matchday revenue.
However, with the project costing an estimated £850million, Pochettino is aware that he is unlikely to immediately receive huge sums to spend on his squad.
“It’s a new era because we are going to move to a different venue to play, and you have to manage and know exactly the expectations because it’s not suddenly going to change everything and millions of pounds will rain from the sky,” he said.
“It’s important to review and to set the principles again, and how it will be with the team once we move.
“I accept and I know that the other teams will keep doing what they are doing already [with their spending] but every season we have to reassess and instil new basics because you have to keep dreaming.
“[When I said ‘with me or another’ last week] I wanted to say that the club is not going to change. If I stay here for three years more, after three years the project will not change. The most important thing now is that project.
“We need to keep pushing, and of course we are frustrated about bad results. But we cannot change because the club cannot change. It cannot go ‘ok that is the project in Tottenham but now we are going to do the same that Manchester United are doing now’.
“Tottenham needed when we arrived here to have a clear idea about discipline, rules, principles, a long-term project to develop, to use young players. That was how we created this project all together. Whether it is me or another, that is the right project to keep pushing. Don’t be disappointed if we still don’t win a trophy.”
Given their financial disadvantage compared to their top-six rivals, it is important that Spurs spend their money wisely and recruit well – and Pochettino is content with the decisions that have been made in the transfer market.
When it was suggested to him that this is an area that the club could improve, the Argentinian replied: “I do not really agree. Tottenham’s expectation is to add big quality, like all the teams. Then it is down to the capacity you have to operate and achieve your objective.
“Then, of course, if you sign players and they don’t reach the level, because other players are in different levels, you need squad players to compete with the players who are consistently in the starting 11, to make them better and to challenge them.
“When you analyse our signings, it’s more complicated. In the percentage [of our success] it’s similar to City, United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Southampton, West Ham.
“It’s impossible to be right in every single decision. That does not concern me. It’s not an issue. We can deal with that.
“Maybe what we need is to be stronger in our decisions. We are brave, and maybe we need to be more brave in our future decisions to try to win.
“But I think in the percentage when you compare other clubs with us, the percentage is similar. It is impossible to be 100 per cent perfect, when all the players arrive and are a success - that’s impossible.”
While bringing in the right players will again be important this summer, Tottenham must also ensure they keep their top men – especially their manager, who has overseen so much progress.
But, with three years left on his current contract, Pochettino has no intention of requesting a new deal or publicly putting pressure on chairman Daniel Levy.
“I am not [Arsene] Wenger or [Sir Alex] Ferguson who decide about their own future,” he said. “I decide only about the starting 11 in this football club.
“That is up to Daniel - does he want to offer or not? I am a person who is never going to ask to improve my salary or extend my contract or anything like this.”
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