MAURICIO POCHETTINO has called upon Tottenham’s wantaway stars to pull together to get their teetering title bid back on track.
The Spurs boss held a one-hour summit with his squad at their Hotspur Way training HQ yesterday to clear the air after a summer of speculation and average start to the Prem season.
And he urged his unsettled players who failed to secure a move away from the club in the transfer window – such as Christian Eriksen, Danny Rose and Toby Alderweireld – to put their personal situations behind them and focus on doing their best for the North Londoners.
All three joined their Tottenham team-mates on their return to training yesterday following the international break.
It was the first time Pochettino has had all of his squad together since the remaining European transfer windows closed on September 2.
Publicly, the Spurs chief had made no secret of his opposition to the Premier League’s decision to shut the top-flight window on August 8 ahead of the big kick-off – and the rest of the continent.
Privately, he is unhappy chairman Daniel Levy was not able to offload the club’s contract rebels, wantaway aces and those surplus to requirements – like Eriksen, Rose, Alderweireld, Serge Aurier and Victor Wanyama – before business closed.
It means Pochettino has been left with at least five men who wish they were elsewhere.
That is presumably why he called the meeting yesterday. He said: “It was so important to be refocused. The conversation was with the squad all together, as we are going to have until January, when the rumours will appear again.
“It was very good to talk for nearly one hour and refocus again on our objectives. To be clear in our minds, to think that the most important is the collective and start to put outside individual situations, all together again and try to create a dynamic and be strong and starting winning games. That’s the most important thing for us now.”
The dust on Tottenham’s Champions League Final defeat by Liverpool in Madrid on June 1 had hardly settled when Eriksen was telling the media in his native Denmark about his intention to quit the club this summer, with Real Madrid his preferred destination
The midfielder, signed from Ajax in 2013 for what now looks a bargain £11.9m, is out of contract at Spurs next summer and he declared he wanted to “try something different” after snubbing the North London club’s several offers of a new improved deal, worth in excess of £200,000 a week.
And after no offers were made for him, Eriksen must now see out the final year of current contract at Tottenham.
It is not the ideal outcome for the player or his manager, who had resigned to losing his Danish playmaker and had hoped he would have been sold by now.
Eriksen hinted about the awkwardness of the situatiion when he told journalists in Denmark this week that he wished his future could be decided in the same way it is on the Football Manager computer game.
But Pochettino, ahead of his Tottenham team’s clash at home to Crystal Palace tomorrow, said: “He’s happy. He was always happy. He never said he wasn’t happy here”
Er, yes he did Poch.
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But that did not deter the Tottenham boss, who went on: “Everyone has aims, goals, challenges. I told you before the Arsenal game he was in his right mind and that’s why I played him.
“He’s an important player for us. In our sixth season, we appreciate him a lot. His qualities are important for the team. He’s happy and we believe he deserves to play.
“It’s not because he has one year on his contract we’re going to take a different decision about whether he will play, it’s all about performance
“I’ve explained why every situation is completely different. There were a lot of situations we needed to sort before the end of the transfer window and his was one case.
“If he didn’t perform the way we expect, sometimes we play with another. But before Arsenal we felt he was in the right place to compete.”
This post written by Gary Stonehouse originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.