Football News

Mauricio Pochettino: Tottenham’s ‘worst opponent is ourselves’

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 10:26, 22 October 2019

Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino believes his side are their own “worst opponent” ahead of facing Red Star in the Champions League.

Last season’s Champions League finalists have endured a difficult start to the 2019/20 season having won just three of 12 matches played in all competitions.

Spurs’ struggles: Five key things to know…

  • Mauricio Pochettino is currently in his sixth season managing Tottenham Hotspur.
  • Under him, Spurs have finished in the Premier League top four on four occasions.
  • They north London club have also reached two cup finals: League Cup (2015) and Champions League (2019), though losing both.
  • However, they’ve started poorly this season, winning just three of their opening 12 matches in all competitions.
  • Pochettino believes his side are currently their own worst opponent.

Spurs go into their upcoming Champions League showdown against Serbian outfit Red Star Belgrade on the back off a three-match winless streak which included a humbling 7-2 defeat against Bayern Munich at home.

That result plus snatching a draw from the jaws of victory against Olympiakos – they led 2-0 in Greece – leaves them on one point after two matches played, with Red Star two points in front.

It means their back-to-back Group B games against the Red-Whites could ultimately decide who follows Bayern Munich into the knockout stages. And when the severity of these games was put to Pochettino, he was in no doubt where Tottenham’s focus must lie.

“It will be tough because every single game is tough,” he told reporters.

“In this type of period our worst opponent are ourselves, and of course we need to compete more with the opponent and with ourselves and try to build our confidence and of course to be solid and perform in the way that we want to perform.”

Pochettino went on to explain why Spurs are their own worst enemies, admitting his players will not be used to being in such a bad patch, given their previous highs.

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He added: “When you’re in good period and full of confidence everything is going well and it’s easy to play because you have the talent and the quality to do so.

“When the tough moment arrives sometimes it’s not easy to connect with team-mates and it’s difficult to do the things that before you were doing so easily. That is normal because it’s the pressure and the stress.

“When you have experience of these situations, it’s so important the leadership inside to the pitch.

“Nearly all the players – 99 per cent of them – have enjoyed a good period at the club in the five-and-a-half years we have been here.

“It had always been very positive. So this, what is happening now, is a very new thing for us.”