Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has been speaking to reporters this afternoon (Friday) ahead of the game against Sheffield United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Tottenham welcome the Blades to north London in the Premier League, with Chris Wilder’s men currently sat in sixth position in the top flight after an impressive start to the new season.
And Pochettino has been speaking about what he expects from Tottenham’s opponents, along with the latest injury news and the mood in the camp after the victory against Red Star Belgrade.
Here’s every word he said this afternoon.
Sheffield United have the joint best defensive record in the league, how hard is it going to be for you tomorrow?
“It is going to be very difficult. They work so hard. What impressed me the most is the belief, the togetherness, they have the spirit like a rugby team that fights for each other, that is fantastic to see in a football team.
“They have a good squad, good organisation, I think a great manager and great coaching staff, and they translate on the pitch with the togetherness I think to fight for each other, they have good players of course, that is the key for Sheffield United and that’s why they are doing so well, with so many points and are in a very good position in the table and have a very good record.
What do you make of the job Chris Wilder is doing?
“It is fantastic. I don’t need to talk that much, I think everyone has seen how he has working and the fantastic job he is doing. The best thing is how I described the team.”
There is an Argentinian connection at Sheffield United. Alejandro Sabella played for them and Diego Maradona almost joined them?
“Yes, I knew, Alejandro Sabella he was a great player and the manager in 2014 in Brazil at the World Cup.
“The Argentinian connection is unbelievable, and I have good memories of playing the Carabao Cup semi-final there five years ago. They were in League One, and I have great memories because we go to the final. I remember it was so cold, it was snowing, an unbelievable night.
Diego Maradona – how would he have done in England?
“He is one of the greatest players in the world, and he could play in any football country.
Diego Maradona is introduced to the crowd at half-time at Wembley
“It is like we say with Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, they can play anywhere, in England, in Spain, in Italy, in Germany, Argentina, Brazil, because they are unbelievable players.
Can the performance in Belgrade be a turning point?
“I hope yes, hopefully keep in the same way. It was a difficult game, the result 4-0 looks like it was easy, but in different periods of the nearly game, we suffered and we nearly concede. They hit the post, and there was an unbelievable save from Paulo that could change the game.
“Always you need luck to score first and then to have the capacity to control. I was happy at Everton and now after Red Star, but we need to finish this period winning, but knowing it will be tough against Sheffield United.
Is Lo Celso ready to start tomorrow?
“I need to assess tomorrow morning, it is a short time to recover. Some players suffer small issues and are maybe not fresh enough to play.
Mauricio Pochettino and Giovani Lo Celso
“We have three games in six days. I still need to decide the team for tomorrow.
How is Son after the week he has had?
“He was affected like everyone, during the game [at Everton] and after the game, it is difficult to see how a player is suffering a massive injury.
“He was involved, there was a little bit of confusion in the action, of course with the decision to show the red card, which created more confusion.
Mauricio Pochettinotalks to Heung-Min son during the win over Red Star Belgrade (Image: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
“He felt responsible then after when we concede with ten men. But he wasn’t guilty for the injury, and he showed that he is in a very good state and mental level [on Wednesday].
“Of course he is sorry about Andre [Gomes], like everyone, but it was a big relief with the message from Andre on social media, which was good and positive, and Son is now training and recovering well.”
Eric Dier has been speaking about his time out. How much you have missed him?
“I didn’t see the interview.
“We were talking about Andre, with Marco Silva, like with Eric Dier being injured at the start of the season, it is trying to help them to be in the best form and then give the opportunity to play and perform.
“The problem in the competition in the high level, you don’t have time to miss people, because you need to compete.
“It is like now with [Erik] Lamela, or [Jan] Vertonghen, how you sit in the chair and cry because you miss someone. You miss the person, the professional too, but the competition does not allow you to cry when you lose some players because of injury or other situations.
“You have to move on quick. It is a bit cruel, but you cannot think like this, you have to move on and find solutions to try to win the next game.
“If you ask me like an MP, not as a coach, of course you miss the person when they are not involved, or close to you. Everyone provides different energy and different relationships, but you have to split the professional and the personal side. You cannot be affected and you have to make decisions on the professional side.”
It is a big game on Sunday – Liverpool vs Man City. Will you be watching it?
“Of course. I love football. I love different sports. Tennis, table tennis, golf, but my priority is football. To watch a game like this on Sunday, of course I will be in front of the TV watching this, I don’t know where, but for sure I will be watching, because my priority is football.
Ryan Sessegnon has been called up to the England U21 squad. Is this a good chance for game time for him?
“He is playing in the last two games, and involved in the squad, playing some minutes. He suffered at Fulham a big injury at the end of last season and we are trying to provide him the best tools to be in his best form, but we are so happy with what he is doing and that he is involved with the team.”