Slump 'a new thing' for Spurs

Doubt has been cast over Pochettino's capability to rouse another response from largely the same group of players in his sixth season in charge.
Doubt has been cast over Pochettino's capability to rouse another response from largely the same group of players in his sixth season in charge.PHOTO: AFP

Pochettino urges players, who he believes are not used to bad run of form, to work harder

LONDON • Tottenham's start to the campaign is lurching from one crisis to another, but Mauricio Pochettino feels the only antidote is to hunker down as "in this type of period, our worst opponent is ourselves".

At his pre-match press conference before Red Star Belgrade's visit today, the Spurs manager revealed to reporters he was "talking to the players collectively and individually" in a bid to mute the white noise over the club's slump in form.

Last season's Champions League finalists have won just three of their opening 12 games in all competitions this season and doubt has been cast over Pochettino's capability to rouse another response from largely the same group of players in his sixth season in charge.

However, the Argentinian remains steadfast in his belief Spurs have time to turn things around although he emphasised "the need to be strong and work harder".

He said yesterday: "For 99 per cent of our players, they were in a very good period in the past five years, it's a very new thing for them.

"For many of our players, this is the first time they've been in a tough period.

"I only pay attention to what we need to do to improve our performance."

FIGHTING BACK

When you're having a run of form like this, things don't always go your way... It's about sticking together and if we win tomorrow night, that can kick-start us.

'' HARRY KANE, on achieving a vital win.

A home victory over the Serbian champions does, however, offer Spurs a chance to leapfrog their opponents into second place in Group B, and Pochettino stressed "the importance to win tomorrow to be in a good position in the table".

While he conceded that the 7-2 thrashing by German champions Bayern Munich had "affected our trust", and Spurs were still in "a period where we're fragile", he was hopeful they could rebuild their confidence with a double-header against Red Star.

Harry Kane also spoke from the same page as his boss, insisting that his teammates had "to believe and fight for everything together".

Calling their rut "the toughest time since I've been here", the England striker added: "It's hard to put a finger on exactly what's wrong.

"Sometimes, when you're having a run of form like this, things don't always go your way in games. It's about sticking together and if we win tomorrow night, that can kick-start us.

"It's just another challenge though. The road to success will always have bumps and this is just one of them.

"We went through an experience in the last Champions League campaign where we had less points than we do now. We know about the effort it takes to get through a Champions League group."

Kane, however, was in a more jovial mood when pressed on rumours suggesting that Spurs players were reportedly tired in training, laughing off "the pure speculation when things aren't going well".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TOTTENHAM V RED STAR BELGRADE

Singtel TV Ch111, tomorrow, 3am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2019, with the headline 'Slump 'a new thing' for Spurs'. Print Edition | Subscribe