LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino said he knew this season would be the "toughest challenge" of his Tottenham Hotspur managerial career, but he was determined to take it on out of a sense of gratitude to the English Premier League club.
The 46-year-old turned down the advances of Spanish giants Real Madrid this summer to sign a new five-year contract with Spurs.
In the past week, however, the club have emerged from the transfer window empty-handed and postponed the opening of their new £1 billion (S$1.75 billion) stadium.
Speaking ahead of Spurs' league game against Fulham at Wembley today, Pochettino was adamant that he had no regrets about his decision and the Argentinian insisted he wants to be on "the frontline" with Spurs trophyless since 2008.
"For me, it will be the toughest season and, if we want success, we have to give more than our best," he said. "It's not enough to give 100 per cent, it has to be 200 per cent.
"We know from inside that it will be hard and, because we are warriors, we want to fight.
"We want to be proud at the end, we want success and we do not want to complain or make excuses. I am a winner and I love the challenge."
Because we are warriors, we want to fight... We do not want to complain or make excuses. I am a winner and I love the challenge.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO, Tottenham manager, on how he is undeterred by the "toughest season" of his Spurs career.
The Spurs manager also apologised to fans for the current uncertainty after their new stadium, the rebuilt White Hart Lane, was found to have problems with its "critical safety systems".
"We all feel disappointed with the (stadium delay) announcement from the club this week. I want to say thank you to the fans and apologise, and try to reward them by winning games," he said.
"I want to be there, in the frontline, fighting. I feel the responsibility and that is why I am here."
Spurs have agreed to play three league fixtures at Wembley this season, but an opening date for their new stadium is still unclear, with the location of the clash with Manchester City on Oct 28 listed as "to be confirmed" by the club.
This match cannot be played at Wembley on that date because of a pre-arranged National Football League fixture and league rules prevent any team from using three stadiums as their home ground in a given season.
"We are going to play a few games more (at Wembley) - Liverpool and Cardiff (City) - hope they (the team) can finish all the work in that moment and then start to play in our new home," Pochettino, who also revealed that Erik Lamela and Harry Winks were back in training, added.
Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic, who will be without the injured Tim Ream and Alfie Mawson, and the suspended Denis Odoi, is expecting Spurs to field a largely unchanged team from their 2-1 season-opening win over Newcastle.
"This is a tough game ahead of us, but it's a great opportunity for us to test against one of the top teams. We are returning to Wembley as a Premier League team," he said.
REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN
TOTTENHAM V FULHAM
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