x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Pochettino buoyed by bright Spurs start: ‘We have an unbelievable squad’

'If we play together we can achieve something,' says Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino, who finds his side topping the Premier League table after two matches.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino, right, greets QPR manager Harry Redknapp before their match on Sunday. Eddie Keogh / Reuters / August 24, 2014
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino, right, greets QPR manager Harry Redknapp before their match on Sunday. Eddie Keogh / Reuters / August 24, 2014

Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham are set for a season to remember after his side swept to the top of the Premier League with a 4-0 demolition of QPR.

Pochettino’s team produced a scintillating display as Nacer Chadli’s double and strikes from Eric Dier and Emmanuel Adebayor ruined QPR boss Harry Redknapp’s dream of a triumphant return to White Hart Lane.

Ahead of his first visit to Spurs since his sacking in 2012, Redknapp had claimed Pochettino, who was hired from Southampton in the close-season, would be considered a failure if he didn’t emulate his achievement of leading the north Londoners into the Champions League.

But, although lethargic QPR were woeful, there was a vibrancy about Tottenham’s play as they pressed with intensity and attacked with blistering speed that suggested they could easily improve on last season’s sixth place.

Even the euphoria of winning his home debut in style couldn’t persuade Pochettino to label Spurs as title contenders just yet, but he admitted to being delighted with the quality of his squad and the way they have adapted so quickly to his philosophy.

“I’m pleased because it was the first game in front of our fans and we played well. We have an unbelievable squad, so if we play together we can achieve something,” Pochettino said.

“The most important thing is to try to develop our style and philosophy. Today the team showed our basis. We showed we play like a team.

“When you win it is important to keep calm. It is only the beginning of the season, but it is important to win because it makes it a little bit easier to develop your philosophy.”

Pochettino could have been forgiven for taking a dig at Redknapp after his loaded comments earlier in the week, but the Argentine side-stepped attempts to draw him into a war of words.

“I have respect for Harry. I think he is an unbelievable manager,” he said.

With two wins from their opening two league matches, as well as a Europa League victory over AEL Limassol, Pochettino has made a dream start.

There was an eye-catching purpose and energy about Tottenham, highlighted by Chadli’s second goal, which was the culmination of a 48-pass move -- twice as long as the build-up to any Premier League goal last season.

The key figure in that goal was Argentine playmaker Erik Lamela and his influential performance underscored his dramatic improvement since his compatriot Pochettino took over.

“He is still young. When players are young and arrive in a different culture and a different type of football it is difficult to adapt,” Pochettino said.

“We all know his skills. We are happy for him that he played well today. We work a lot to create space for the attacking players.

“It is important they are free because they are creative players. You need organisation but you can’t put players like that in the shade.”

It was a dispiriting day for Redknapp, who cut a forlorn figure slumped in his seat as Tottenham ran riot.

Redknapp recently hired Glenn Hoddle to help implement the 3-5-2 formation he believes will bring the best from his squad, yet he dumped the system when QPR found themselves 3-0 down at half-time.

“I don’t think the system is the problem. If you play 4-4-2 you’ll get slaughtered in midfield because they play three in there and you get over-run,” Redknapp said.

“We didn’t play with enough energy, we were slow on the ball and looked off the pace.”

Redknapp also angered QPR’s travelling supporters by acknowledging chants from Tottenham fans to give them a wave, but he insisted he had done nothing wrong.

“I’m sat there watching the game and there are punters up there singing ‘give us a wave’. I don’t know what punters they are. It isn’t a big deal,” Redknapp said.

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