Mauricio Pochettino

Pochettino puffs his chest after opening win vs. 10-man Magpies

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Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino isn’t convinced the score line tells the story of his side’s 2-0 win over Newcastle United on Sunday at St. James Park.

Scoreless at half, the match changed when Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey stamped down on the ankle of Dele Alli.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 0-2 Spurs ]

Dele would go on to score minutes later against the 10-man Magpies, and Ben Davies made it 2-0 within 10 minutes. Harry Kane cranked the goal post late, and Pochettino seems aggrieved the score line wasn’t bigger for his side.

From the BBC:

“It was not easy to find the space and create chances. It’s important to improve. In a stadium that doesn’t have good memories for us, it was important to win. It was a clear red card.

“If Harry Kane had scored to make it 3-0 at the end, that would have been a bit more fair.”

A scissor tackle from Kane felled Florian Lejeune and sent the Newcastle center back to the locker room. Kane stayed on with a yellow card, and the Magpies were quite angry with the play.

Regardless, Spurs deserved every bit of the win once the Shelvey stamp snapped them out of a funk that threatened a scoreless draw.

Premier League 2017-18 preview – Tottenham Hotspur

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Heading into 2017/18, Tottenham actually enters the Premier League season as a bit of an underdog after opting to go quietly into the summer without hitting the transfer market hard.

[ LIVE: Stream Premier League live ]

While the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and others went after several of the game’s biggest names and talents, Spurs continued to build its team with youth, and now it’s time to see if Mauricio Pochettino‘s choices have paid off as Tottenham seeks out a PL title.

Best, worst case scenarios – Best-case scenario is quite simple for Spurs… win the Premier League. There were moments last season that showed this team is quite capable of doing so, and the club’s run to end the year was nothing short of spectacular had it not been for a Chelsea side that proved to be a little too much. The talent is there in the squad, and Pochettino is a more-than-capable manager. The task is simply putting it all together.

However, things could come back and haunt Pochettino, such as the club’s lack of spending this summer. Alvaro Morata, Romelu Lukaku and Alexandre Lacazette are just a few of the PL’s top signings of summer, but all have one thing in common; they didn’t land at Spurs. At worst, Tottenham is a top-five or six team, but they’d certainly be disappointed to take a step back after their success in 2016/17.


Best possible XI is…

Lloris

Trippier— Vertonghen — Alderweireld — Rose

Dier — Wanyama

Lamela — Alli — Eriksen

Kane


[ MORE: 2017-18 PL season preview hub ] 

Transfers In: N/A

Transfers Out: Kyle Walker (Manchester City, $58 million), Federico Fazio (Roma, Undisclosed)

Last season:

— 2nd place in Premier League
— Eliminated in Champions League group stage
— Eliminated in Europa League Round of 32
— League Cup 4th Round (lost to Liverpool)
— FA Cup semifinals (lost to Chelsea)

Star player: Harry Kane — There’s really not much the England international can’t do, and Spurs will be relying on him once again this season to be one of the Premier League’s most-dangerous goalscorers. Kane has amassed the 30-goal mark in two of the last three PL campaigns for Spurs, with his 2015/16 total falling just short at 28. There’s no question who this team looks to when they need a goal, and it’s number 10.

Coaches’ Corner: Mauricio Pochettino — Since 2009/10, the worst Tottenham has finished in the PL is sixth. Barring something completely unforeseen, it’s hard to imagine Spurs falling out of that range this season. The Argentine manager has done everything right since arriving at the club in 2014. He’s brought a clear philosophy about raising youth and relying less on spending big in the transfer market to satisfy club needs, and guess what? It’s working.

PST predicts: Say what you will about Tottenham’s transfer market philosophy, but this team is still quite good when looking at past performance and the way the current roster is structured. Could a move or two in January help? Sure. However, there’s no reason Spurs cannot finish top four once again in 2017/18 and contend for the Premier League crown.

Pochettino: Spurs won’t sell any key players this summer

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Two seasons in a row now, Tottenham Hotspur has been the only club to come close to challenging for the Premier League title in any month that comes after February.

[ WATCH: Kane scores 4 to take charge in Golden Boot race ]

Most impressively, Tottenham have done it with a squad of players that’s A) the youngest in the PL (average age: 25.7 — nearly a full year younger than Liverpool, the PL’s second-youngest squad), and B) heavily reliant upon a core of English players (five of 11 first-choice starters — four of whom made their England debut since Mauricio Pochettino took over at White Hart Lane).

With success — make no doubt about it, what Spurs have done under Pochettino has been a major success, trophies or no trophies — comes recognition. With recognition comes interest from any number of “bigger” clubs from all around Europe. While the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid may be interested in the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Toby Aldeweireld and Kyle Walker, Spurs won’t be forced into any sales that weaken the first-team squad — quotes from the BBC:

“The players we want to keep will be here next season. If any players leave, it’s Tottenham’s decision.”

“I think we are so, so, so calm about our big players and they are so happy here. We are building a very exciting project. The players must feel they are part of us and want to share in our success.”

On the other end of the transfer market, there won’t be any shortage of players lining up to sign for Spurs this summer. With one or two key additions to the squad another title challenge looks to be no the cards, in the event of a serious uptick in results at Wembley Stadium, of course.

[ RECAP: Kane gets 4, Son gets 2; Spurs increase record points total ]

As for Kane, who bagged four goals on Thursday to take total control on the 2016-17 Golden Boot race, Pochettino remains convinced (with evidence spewing out of his eyes, ears and nose) that the 23-year-old academy product ascended to world-class heights long ago:

“Harry Kane’s a special player, he loves Tottenham.”

“Harry Kane means a lot for the team. I tell you always that he’s one of the best strikers in the world. His performances show that we are right.”

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Typically quick to praise his teammates and place team success above his own statistics and accolades, Kane was rightly beaming after his four-goal performance and basking in the possibilities of winning his second straight Golden Boot:

“It is the first time in my professional career that I’ve scored four. There has been a bit of build-up in the race for the Golden Boot and I wanted at least one or two to put the pressure on, but to get four is amazing.

“I think this is my best season. I missed 11 weeks and worked hard during my injury to ensure I came back in better shape than I started.”

Premier League Preview: Leicester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur

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  • Drew 1-1 at WHL on Oct. 29
  • Last five head-to-head: 1W-3D-1L
  • Spurs lead all-time 52W-21D-34L

Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur aim to finish their season in good form, one year after finishing 1-2 in the Premier League (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

King Power Stadium saw the Foxes win the league last year, with Spurs the runners-up.

Tottenham is now locked into second place and enters the match with 80 points, 10 behind Chelsea.

Leicester’s 43 points are good enough for 11th, two points behind Southampton, West Bromwich Albion, and Bournemouth. The Foxes can still finish eighth by winning Thursday vs. Spurs, again on Sunday, and getting a little help from Saints.

The Foxes are limping to the finish line due to injuries, not form. Wes Morgan, Robert Huth, Andy King, Danny Drinkwater, and Nampalys Mendy are among those who are either big question marks or ruled out for Thursday’s match.

Tottenham took a shot, too, as Danny Rose needs surgery and could miss the beginning of next season.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

What they’re saying

Leicester’s Craig Shakespeare on the injury woes: “It means other people get their opportunities. The players can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I expect us to have a real good go, to finish as high as we can.”

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino on next season’s motivation“Next season and during the summer we need to find a way to inspire them, to motivate them to push further in our performances and to find different ways to play. Then try to add more quality, maybe, if we are capable of finding this type of player that can help us for the next season to play better, to be better and try to compete better in different periods of the season.”

Prediction

Closer than you think, but Spurs will continue to pile up points by denying Leicester more than a few sniffs at goal. 2-1 Tottenham.

Pochettino after title hopes fade: “Difficult to take off this feeling”

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Credit Mauricio Pochettino for his honesty in a difficult time.

The Premier League’s latest Manager of the Month has admitted there’s been a let-down around the training ground after the club’s disappointing 1-0 loss to West Ham essentially assured that Tottenham won’t catch Chelsea in the race for the Premier League title.

[ MORE: Badstuber to Man City? ]

Few would pretend that everything is fine after such a disappointment, but Pochettino has been especially candid in not proffering bogus “We’ll fight to the death” bravado.

From the BBC:

“We have three games to play, we still feel disappointed from last week and it is difficult to take off this feeling. We missed a good opportunity to put pressure on Chelsea and to fight nearly to the end. Now it is in their hands to win the Premier League and it is so difficult for us to win. Before the game we thought anything was possible, but afterwards it was a big disappointment and it was difficult to lift everyone.”

Pochettino admitted that the last home match at White Hart Lane assures that Spurs will be laser-focused for the game, so it’s not like he’s setting the table with excuses.

Yet it’s refreshing to hear a confident manager admit to the challenge when so many would head to a spin zone of “We’re still Top Four, and we’ll keep going.”