Pochettino 'happy' there's less focus on Spurs

LONDON • Speculation may be the bane of many clubs, leaving players and staff unsettled. But, for Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, the rumours validate his hard work and mean that he is doing something right.

Fresh talk about his future emerged this week following the club's qualification for the knockout stage of the Champions League, with reports suggesting the Londoners are bracing themselves for interest from Manchester United and Real Madrid.

But the Argentinian, who signed a five-year contract with Spurs in May, feels the gossip "does not upset or bore him", saying: "I prefer that newspapers talk about things like this than talk about, 'Tottenham is going to sack me', or 'People are tired of me', or 'We are in a difficult situation'.

"Of course, if I choose one situation, I choose this one."

Pochettino is also happy for Spurs to go under the radar as they prepare to welcome Burnley in the Premier League today.

Dark horses Spurs are third in the league, six points adrift of leaders Liverpool, and that gap could be narrowed this weekend should Spurs manage to capitalise on any slip-up by the Reds, who will play Manchester United at home.

Ahead of their match with the Clarets at Wembley, he said: "We are there (in the table) - we are in a good position, of course.

BUSY SEASON

(Playing) every three days is always tough but we need to try to find the way to approach the game in the best condition.

MAURICIO POCHETTINO, Tottenham manager, on Spurs' match against Burnley today, after a bruising midweek encounter with Barcelona in the Champions League.

"It is normal that the perception is different.

"I am happy with the perception today, when the perception from the media is only Manchester City and Liverpool, and not us."

However, having given it their all in their Champions League tie at Barcelona in midweek, Pochettino warned the opposition were ready to take advantage of any tired legs, calling Burnley a "tough game".

"We are playing for three very important points, to be in the Premier League top four - for me, it is a massive motivation," he added.

"(Playing) every three days is always tough but we need to try to find the way to approach the game in the best condition."

With regular right-backs Kieran Trippier and Serge Aurier still injured, Kyle Walker-Peters, who endured a torrid night at the Nou Camp, is expected to be given the nod again.

Fellow defenders Juan Foyth and Davinson Sanchez will also miss the game through injury.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

TOTTENHAM V BURNLEY

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2018, with the headline 'Pochettino 'happy' there's less focus on Spurs'. Print Edition | Subscribe