Every word Pochettino just said on late win, Ndombele’s ‘fantastic’ debut & Eriksen’s impact

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How difficult was that?

“It was a difficult first half, we started well and of course we conceded in the first section that they approached our goal. After that we didn’t find a way to play in the way we wanted to play. We prepare and it is always the fault of the manager, my plan didn’t work and we were taking rash decisions and we were never comfortable on the pitch. The first 45 minutes wasn’t the best, then in the second half when we found the best positions to play and moved the ball, we started to create the chances. We fully deserved the victory, they defended very deep and compact. When you assess the game again, the victory was good for us.”

You were predictable, how much of a difference did Eriksen make?

“I don’t agree. I will agree that we were a little bit predictable on the first half, but we never found our best position to play and move the ball quickly. They were very compact. In the second half we played very well. Of course when Christian went on to the pitch he was more fresh and had more quality, of course he is a top player. He helped the team to win the game, I am so happy. That is the advantage of a player that cannot play 90 minutes, but is on the bench and his quality can help you to achieve the victory.”

What did not work in the first half?

“In the way that we were settled on the pitch and our offensive position did not work like other times work. I want to avoid the responsibility of the player, it wasn’t the players, it was a problem of our decision, the plan did not work. It is not to blame the players, I blame myself because I decided to play this way and in the second half we helped the players to play better and found the space we wanted and to be more comfortable.”

What did you think of the handball incident that was checked for VAR?

“When Toby Alderweireld went to shoot? For me it was not a penalty. To be honest it is not a penalty to give, in Europe it is different but here in England it is good….we were talking last week a lot with the referees. This type of situation is not intentional. I think you can’t give a penalty for this type of situation?”

Were you surprised with your first goalscorer, you didn’t buy him for his goals?

“It’s one of the aspects he needs to work on, he didn’t score too many goals at Lyon, but that is one of the areas that is a target for him to improve this season. It is so early, in his first game he scored. I am delighted for him, he is a player that arrived to the team from another country and it is always a difficult adaption and it is going to help him to feel happy and comfortable on the pitch and with his team?”

Harry Kane is looking sharp?

“To score the two goals, he is very sharp. It is normal. We are talking a lot because he scored twice. If he didn’t we would be saying we are worried because he has not scored in August. I hope this season, please, that he starts to score and doesn’t stop until the end?”

What did you make of Tanguy’s performance overall?

“It was a fantastic performance. But to be honest there is a lot to improve, he only showed 30 or 40 per cent of his potential. He has amazing potential to improve.”

Harry’s had a full summer off and physically looks in good shape. Is he in good shape?

“We talk very highly about him. I think he’s been on a nice holiday as you saw everything on Instagram. He’s had a wedding and he’s a happy man. When you’re professional like he is, the pre-season is not to get fit but to try to improve. For him to arrive at pre-season was to improve and not to get fit. Sometimes some players are so confused because they hear themselves on their holidays and then when we’re hear saying we need to reduce weight or different things. I need to get fit….That is the wrong mentality. The mentality is to enjoy your holidays and then prepare, arrive fit and improve in the four, five or six weeks we have. If not, you’re going to pay the problems with injuries or different things can happen. That for me is one of the key of Harry Kane to be in the shape that he is today.”

What surprised you about Aston Villa in the first half?

“Of course at the beginning of the season and I told before in press conference yesterday that it’s not easy. It’s easy to maybe have the capacity to sign 10-15 players and spend money. The most difficult now is for the coach as the manager needs to build a team and create a dynamic that make you look like a team because to arrive with a lot of players is a massive job. If you not sign like we did last season people say you need that, but at the same time you have an advantage that you know how to work. If you sign too much, sometimes it’s a big disadvantage like what happened with Fulham last season. To find a balance is not easy and of course for the manager is a massive job now to stick all the pieces and try to work. It’s a job that only can happen with time. Of course, Aston Villa need time to build that dynamic that will help you win games. For me, the manager is a great manager and I admire him. For sure they have the capacity to create a dynamic that Aston Villa deserve as they are a historic club with fantastic fans and an amazing stadium.”

Did you say that Harry Kane has lost weight compared to last season?

Jesus Perez: “He says the players have to use their holidays to rest and enjoy and to arrive fit. Then to use pre-season to improve their qualities. Some of the players arrive with a bit of body fat and then you have to use pre-season to reduce those. He was speaking in general about players.”

MP: “Football players in general. We believe holidays are to enjoy. Pre-season then you start to run a little bit. Professional football is completely different. Holidays you need to enjoy but the balance is so important as you have to be ready to build again.”

Article curtesy of Rob Guest.