Mauricio Pochettino

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Pochettino sends strong message to Spurs’ want-away stars

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Mauricio Pochettino sounds like a manager increasingly tired of answering questions about players who wish to leave Tottenham Hotspur.

[ MORE: Report: LAFC hot in pursuit of Juventus, Croatia star Mario Mandzukic ]

Tottenham’s summer transfer window saw three first-team players arrive, yet a whole host of want-away stars stole the majority of the headlines and have made the opening weeks of the Premier League season plenty difficult for Pochettino. Christian Eriksen, Danny Rose, Serge Aurier and Victor Wanyama all reached varying level of “close to leaving the club,” while Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen quietly declined to extend their current contracts with fewer than 12 months remaining.

Eriksen didn’t start the first two games of the season as Pochettino didn’t think he was in the right frame of mind to do so; Vertonghen has played just once; Rose has played 358 of 360 minutes, but has performed to a subpar standard; and the same goes for Alderweireld.

[ MORE: Lionel Messi still out injured, makes cryptic comments about future ]

To put it simply, it’s been a mess; also, a minor miracle that Spurs have five points from four games, including two away to Manchester City and Arsenal already. The European transfer window mercifully, and finally, closed last week, therefore Pochettino can finally look at his squad and know what everyone who is currently at the club will remain there until January at least. As such, the Argentine has demanded focus from everyone at the club, or else — quotes from the Guardian:

“Always it’s difficult [to sell players] and then I think we are all agreed that Tottenham have more rumors than other clubs. In one month I think the rumors will start again because the situation of the squad is going to help those rumors appear. Now it’s a time to be positive.”

“Victor Wanyama is in my plans. Christian is in my plans. Before I understood that they were in a difficult situation and, of course, we tried to help them, to help the club, to do their business. When it’s one player, then OK. But then it’s a few players, who start to make it difficult to create a good dynamic, a positive dynamic … Now we need to start to win games. Be refocused, and who is not refocused is going to be out.”

Is Pochettino the type of manager who’ll drop an irreplaceable player week after week just to prove a point or maintain a certain level of control over the team? You bet he is, and he’ll gladly prove it should any of the aforementioned players not meet level of focus required.

Eriksen made no bones about his desire to leave during the international break, and while Pochettino sympathizes with a player trying to do the best thing for his own career, he also trusts Eriksen will fall in line and see out his contract in a professional manner.

“When you sign the contract, like Christian who signed for five or six years, you need to be committed from day one to the last day. He isn’t not going to show the commitment because there’s only one year left,. The difference is whether he wants to extend the contract or not. Different players have different goals.

“No one is going to say, ‘I want to leave the club’ and, if no one wants you, then you say, ‘No, I love the club.’ You kill yourself then. The reality is that managers, players, coaching staff — sometimes they have one year left and they are happy; others need a different challenge.”

Pochettino ‘didn’t enjoy’ break as Spurs look to re-focus

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Tottenham Hotspur’s difficult start to the season had a fitting international break. Harry Kane and Troy Parrott delivered fine international performances and some injured players were able to heal up, but the club also lost big signing Giovani Lo Celso for some time.

[ MORE: Messi on Neymar situation ]

Manager Mauricio Pochettino, himself admittedly unsettled in August, sees the opportunity presented by the break. The club can regain solid footing and mount its Top Four challenge.

It will have to do it without Lo Celso, and both Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth remain out. Pochettino will be waiting on Tanguy Ndombele, Ryan Sessegnon, Eric Dier, and Kyle Walker-Peters ahead of Palace.

It hasn’t been a laugh riot around Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. From Sky Sports:

“I didn’t enjoy too much. We were preparing lots of things, we were working. We reviewed many things and we have been planning and talking. It is a strange period. It was about re-focusing again on the competition and make a plan for the team.”

Spurs lost to Newcastle, drew Man City away and Arsenal at home. They labored to find a comeback win against Aston VIlla, but were clearly the better side.

Re-organizing means taking care of business, and Spurs will be favored in every match this month. Crystal Palace visits Saturday before a Wednesday trip to stingy Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League.

Then come trips to Leicester City (PL) and Colchester United (League Cup) before Saints come to town.

It’s all a build-up to Bayern Munich on Oct. 1.

The good news is that the club no longer has transfer uncertainty, which should help both Pochettino and want-away Christian Eriksen. He’s not going anywhere for at least four months.

“It is so important to re-focus,” Pochettino said. “This is the squad that we are going to have until January, when the rumors will appear again.The most important now is the collective. We must put aside the individual situations and be all together again.”

Premier League considers re-extending summer transfer window

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According to reports in England, the Premier League will raise the possibility of returning to the old transfer window structure at its next executive meeting next week.

Only two years ago, the Premier League decided to close its summer transfer window prior to the start of the season, allowing teams to finalize rosters before playing matches. In theory, the practice made perfect sense and the decision was praised by many. However, the rest of Europe did not follow suit, and the result left Premier League clubs with nearly a month where players could depart for teams in La Liga, the Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, and other European clubs leaving the Premier League side unable to replace them.

Reports by both The Times and the BBC have claimed that the issue will be raised at the meeting of Premier League chairmen and chief executives on September 12. The group could decide to vote on the issue at that meeting, or decide to table the discussion until the next meeting in November. A simple majority of 11 club votes would be needed to change the window back to its old structure.

This summer, the Premier League transfer window closed on August 8, while the rest of Europe had until September 2 to complete deals.

Before the change two years ago, Premier League managers were highly vocal about the need to move the transfer window to before the season so clubs aren’t doing business while matches were ongoing. However, with the new structure, managers again went public to complain about the disadvantage Premier League clubs found themselves facing. Mauricio Pochettino was the most vocal of late thanks to uncertainty surrounding Christian Eriksen, who was heavily linked to a move away from Tottenham with Spurs left powerless to replace him in the event he left.

“I think the Premier League cannot give this advantage to the European clubs,” Pochettino said the day after the Premier League window closed. “That is another point to talk about, to argue that we are at a disadvantage to European clubs because they have 20 days more to operate. I think that was a big mistake for the Premier League to allow that – we open the door to different clubs in Europe to try to create confusion within your squad. I think after two seasons operating in this way, the Premier League realizes that if Europe doesn’t change, we need to go back and start to operate in the same way they operate now.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp agreed, saying last month, “I don’t care when it closes, but it must close at the same time,” he recently said. “That was the idea in the first place. They spoke about finishing it before the season starts. Good idea, but only England did it. That makes no sense. It was a good idea but it didn’t work out.”

According to the Liverpool Echo, the Reds will back changing the window to the old structure at the upcoming meeting, despite being one of the clubs to heavily support the change two years ago. In addition, the report states that Manchester United and Manchester City will also back a change to the old format.

Pochettino looks forward after uneasy summer: “Past is the past”

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Mauricio Pochettino admits he’s been masking negative emotions after his summer at Tottenham Hotspur.

He hasn’t done a particularly good job masking them, admittedly, but his words following Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal show just how rough things are around the North London side.

[ MORE: 4 things from the North London Derby ]

Pochettino seems ready to pin Spurs’ wobbly start, which includes draws to Man City and Arsenal and a home loss to Newcastle United, on drama with the transfer window, namely whether Christian Eriksen will wind up at Spurs following Monday’s European deadline.

Safe to say he’s not feeling it, and that buzz about him quitting regardless of result might’ve been wrong but founded in something real.

Pochettino did strike optimistic notes for the future, saying that Eriksen is unlikely to leave on Sunday.

“We have massive quality and from tomorrow [when the transfer window shuts] we will all be on the same page. With Christian Eriksen we have to wait but it shows it was the right decision to play him. He showed a great performance and helped the team to get a point here. … I am optimistic and happy to work with the squad and try to fight for big things for the club.

Harry Kane scored a penalty in the draw, and had a shout — we believe it to be a poor one — for another in the second half.

He sees the result as fair.

“If a few final balls would have been better, we would have created more. It is a shame we couldn’t kill it off,” he said. “But it is the Premier League and if you don’t kill teams off they come back at you.”

Spurs’ upcoming schedule is more forgiving, but comes with the added pressure of UEFA Champions League congestion.

PL Sunday Preview: Everton hosts Wolves; Tottenham visit Arsenal

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Saturday’s action was jam-packed, but two more fixtures are left to be settled in Matchweek 4 on Sunday.

[ MORE: Liverpool play ‘perfect’ game against Burnley | Highlights ]

Everton v. Wolverhampton Wanderers — 9 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Having lost to Aston Villa 2-0 in their last Premier League bout, Everton went into their midweek League Cup match against Lincoln City with one objective in mind: to resuscitate a dead attack. They did so, winning 4-2 with a pair of goals from attacking players such as Alex Iwobi and Richarlison. No more than ever, the Toffees, who have only scored a goal in three matches despite registering 34 shots, will hope to implement the same levels of productiveness at Goodison Park.

Wolves, however, are hungrier than ever for their first taste of three points this season. Despite having drawn the first three bouts of the season, Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side proved to be too much for Torino in a two-leg series midweek, qualifying for the Europa League group stage for the first time in nearly 40 years. With the excitement that comes from a feat such as returning to European competition coupled with striker Raul Jimenez’s fine scoring form, there are zero doubts that Wolves have the upper hand on the majority of teams in the league when it comes to momentum. For now, that joy has yet to seep into Premier League play, but it could be just around the corner.

INJURIES: Everton —  OUT: Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh); QUESTIONABLE: None | Wolves  — OUT: None; QUESTIONABLE: None


Arsenal v. Tottenham — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

After what was an abysmal loss to a lowly Newcastle, Spurs march into Emirates Stadium in this season’s first North London derby with their heads down. It was not anticipated for Mauricio Pochettino and Co. to be in a conundrum this early, but that’s reality for Tottenham. Only in their first match (against Aston Villa) did the North London side register more shots on target than their competition. If one digs deeper, the offensive woes are only surface problems for the side. Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen are reportedly one foot out the door with moves lined up away from Tottenham. And if Spurs fail to find their groove on Sunday, a loss to rivals Arsenal will only make matters worse.

Arsenal come in with a fresh loss under their belts, too. A defeat at Anfield against a record-setting Liverpool, however, is a different story. In his second season at the helm, Unai Emery holds a better record after three games than during his first time around.

Conveniently, against Tottenham, in what is the fiercest match of a young season for Arsenal, Emery hopes to rely on Mesut Ozil for the first time this season.

“We need him,” Emery said ahead of Sunday’s North London Derby. “And [ we need] him first to be consistent in training, to be available in each match. For example last week he wasn’t ready to play 100% in Liverpool. This week he is getting better with each training [session] and I think physically he is now better. He is closer to helping us. We need him because he is a different player in our team. He can help us with his quality.”

INJURIES: Arsenal —  OUT: Hector Bellerin (knee), Rob Holding (knee), Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin), Kieran Tierney (groin); QUESTIONABLE: None | Tottenham  — OUT: Tanguy Ndombele (thigh), Kyle Walker-Peters (hamstring), Juan Foyth (ankle), Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: Eric Dier (hip)