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Pochettino mounts stirring defence of his time at Spurs

Pochettino mounts stirring defence of his time at Spurs
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(Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino made an impassioned defence of his tenure on Tuesday and reiterated that it would be a mistake for the London club to focus solely on the pursuit of silverware.

The Argentine has transformed Spurs since taking charge in 2014 by ensuring regular involvement in the Champions League, but recently saw two chances to win his first trophy for the club slip away in quick succession.

Spurs suffered a League Cup semi-final shootout defeat at Chelsea on Thursday and then lost to Crystal Palace 2-0 in the FA Cup on Sunday.

Pochettino said after the FA Cup exit that he did not agree with the view that winning a trophy would help Spurs move forward and preferred to focus on Champions League qualification, leading to criticism from some fans on social media.

“Our fans need to know, when you ask me if I agree to win a domestic cup will help us to achieve the last level, I cannot agree,” he told a news conference on Tuesday.

“I only wanted to translate that we are doing fantastic things in the last few years, we are focused on different things, not only to win.”

Pochettino called on fans to keep faith with the direction in which the club was moving.

“Patience is difficult in football, like in life,” he said. “We see something and we want it straight away (but) football is about building, believing and to keep working hard.

“It’s easy to destroy but it’s so difficult to build. To build a new stadium, the club is working 18 years, and to destroy the old White Hart Lane was easy, in one afternoon, yes?

“If you are at Real Madrid, you only think about winning trophies, there is not another point. In Tottenham… it was a completely different challenge for the club. To build that quality or philosophy is tough.”

The 46-year-old pointed to Spurs’ new stadium as a potential gamechanger, saying it would help the team take the final step to being on par with the best in the world.

“If you want to be one of the best teams in the world, you have to have the best facilities, one of the best training grounds in the world. We have that,” he said.

“You need to make that unbelievable effort to build all that… But I think Tottenham have all the infrastructure today, or is going to have the infrastructure to one day be a club that can be a contender for every single title.”

South Korea forward Son Heung-min is available for selection for Wednesday’s home league game against Watford after returning from the Asian Cup, but left back Ben Davies (groin) has been ruled out, joining Harry Kane and Dele Alli on the injured list.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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