Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 November 2019

Mauricio Pochettino relaxed but says he knows pressure is on to improve Tottenham's results

Tottenham in need of a positive result against Red Star Belgrade in Champions League but manager says he is not affected by rumours about his future

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino admits he is under pressure to improve results at the struggling club following a string of setbacks to both their Premier League and Champions League hopes.

Pochettino's squad are still reeling from their last outing in Europe's premier club competition when they suffered a humiliating 7-2 defeat at home to Bayern Munich earlier this month, with former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry scoring four goals.

The hangover has not been limited to Europe, with a 3-0 defeat away to Brighton & Hove Albion followed by a last-gasp draw against bottom club Watford in the Premier League either side of the international break.

Spurs have won only three of their 12 games after reaching last season's Champions League final and finishing fourth last term. Pochettino says that he is not affected by speculation, but knows the pressure on him will only get worse if his side cannot turn things around, starting with Tuesday's match against Red Star Belgrade.

"The rumours happen in any club when you don't win," he said. "That doesn't mean they are true and you need to care or pay attention about what has happened.

"But I understand it's the business. I am 47 – look, why do you think that I don't have white hair?

"Because I don't pay attention to any of this. I only pay attention to what we need to do to improve our performance.

"And if we don't improve our performance, what is going to be the result? Always the same in football. Yes, you are thinking the same as me."

Captain Harry Kane, sat next to his manager as he faced the media ahead of the crunch clash against Red Star at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, was asked to comment on a report that the players felt Pochettino's training sessions were too demanding.

Kane laughed at the question, and said: "There's going to be speculation when things aren't going well, when you're not winning games, people will look from the outside for excuses.

"From our point of view we work hard every day. We have worked hard since the manager came here to improve as players and as a team, that hasn't changed.

"We need to carry on doing what we have always done and that is keep working as hard as possible."

Tottenham are third in Group B on one point after two matches, two behind the Serb champions and five behind leaders Bayern Munich, who travel to Greece to face Olympiakos.

Pochettino said he was hopeful midfielder Christian Eriksen would be available following a dead leg, and the Argentine hinted that one of Giovani Lo Celso or Ryan Sessegnon – almost certainly the former – will be involved after a lengthy injury lay-off.

Updated: October 21, 2019 07:30 PM

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