Mystic Mau: Pochettino will know inside one minute if Tottenham can overcome Europa League deficit
Argentinean manager insists it takes him less than a minute from kick-off to know if his side will struggle in a match
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has insisted it takes him less than a minute from kick-off to know if his side will struggle in a match.
The north London side face Gent in the Europa League at Wembley on Thursday, in a match where they will hope to overturn a 1-0 deficit following a first-leg defeat in Belgium last week.
Spurs have won just three of their last seven matches in all competitions, with Pochettino desperate to rid the team of their inconsistent tag.
“When we start a game, if you only watch 50 seconds, you don’t need to be a genius to know we may struggle and have some problems in that game,” Pochettino told a news conference on Wednesday.
“In that moment it’s too difficult to change. We changed the formation at half-time to try and lift them but it was impossible.
“The problem is when you start not in a good way, it’s too difficult to change that perception and then you give a very good signal to the opponent that you are not focused on the game.
“You need to change that mentality.”
An away goal for Gent would leave Spurs needing to score three to stay in a tournament which appeared to offer them a realistic chance of silverware, although they are also in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
Spurs have endured a trophy drought since lifting the 2008 League Cup, while you have to go back to 1984 for their last piece of European silverware – the Uefa Cup, the predecessor of the Europa League.
Successive Spurs managers have been given money to spend on players but Pochettino said they could not splash the cash in the way of football’s wealthier clubs.
“We cannot buy time, that is the most important thing for us,” Pochettino said.
“You never know in football, but in a short period you cannot do it - only if you have money enough to buy the best players in the world. Then you maybe don’t need much time.
“But the process we are in and with our philosophy we need time. We are showing a good basis but now it’s time to develop the winning mentality.”
Spurs are playing their European matches at Wembley as redevelopment work starts at White Hart Lane ahead of plans to move to a brand new stadium next door to their home of more than a hundred years.
Two Wembley defeats ended Tottenham’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League but, with a sell-out crowd of some 90,000 expected Thursday, Spurs star Harry Kane is confident the atmosphere will inspire his side as much as it does that of the opposition.
“White Hart Lane is obviously a lot smaller and the crowd are on top of you. We have a great atmosphere there,” Kane said.
“But at Wembley it is even better to be honest with you. Even though the fans are not as close to the pitch, having 90,000 there is incredible.
“I think it’s a full house again so hopefully we can use it to our advantage.”