Mauricio Pochettino says 'it's not a problem' if Tottenham would have lost top players

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Tottenham managed to keep their squad together as the transfer window shut across Europe, but boss Mauricio Pochettino said he would have been fine with losing any one of his players.

Their top stars were never expected to leave, but there was plenty of speculation that Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele would exit the club.

Pochettino has grown tired over the summer of speaking about those three players in particular and embarked on several monologues about the situation, citing any player could leave if they wanted to.

And the Argentinian had his final say on the matter, suggesting that he would have been fine if all his players left.

Asked about Alderweireld’s situation, Pochettino said: “Harry Kane is here, Dele Alli is here, (Victor) Wanyama is here, (Eric) Dier is here, (Fernando) Llorente is here, Alderweireld is here…

“I don’t understand why you focus only on some names.

“Maybe you have some information I don’t have. Or better relations with me than someone.

“If you review all my press conferences when did I say expect this or expect that? Never, why you focus on a few names only?

“I don’t understand rumours about, you know, transfer window closing.

“It’s not a problem if we lose one or two or three. Because we have plenty of players in the academy, no problem.

“I am more than happy. I am more than happy to keep all the players and I am more than happy if they leave and we play with the under-23s.

“It’s not a problem, I promise you. Not a problem for me.”

Pochettino was in a better mood when discussing their stadium situation and will not allow his team to become “victims of circumstances”.

Spurs were due to move into their brand new home in September, but issues with “critical safety systems” have meant they have had to return to Wembley for at least two extra Premier League games and a Champions League encounter.

That has not cured all of their problems as they still do not have a venue for their clash with Manchester City while Spurs announced they have applied to play their Carabao Cup game with Watford at Stadium MK as the national stadium is unavailable on both days.

Pochettino’s men have not let the uncertainty affect them as they have won their first three Premier League games, including a 3-0 trouncing of Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday.

And Pochettino hopes the unsettled situation can galvanise his squad.

“The good thing is that we are so positive in the approach and everything that happens,” he said ahead of Sunday’s trip to Watford.

“We are working a lot on being positive rather than being negative on the new things that appear.

“We are trying to be positive and to create a challenge. We are going to play in another different venue – it’s a challenge for us. Come on.

“If we are going to be a victim of the circumstances, we are going to lose. The only way to succeed is to fight.”

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From broken doors to dilapidated gym, new book details how far City have come in a decade

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It has been 10 years since Abu Dhabi United Group, owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, took over the reins at Manchester City and transformed the once struggling outfit into a world power.

City are now the established heavyweights of the Premier League and have access to the best talent on the planet with finances no longer a constraint. But 10 years ago, the scenario was drastically different.

Around this time in 2008, the club was in dire straits with serious question marks over their future. But how grim was the situation?

In a new book by Daniel Slack-Smith that reveals the inside story behind Manchester City’s transformation, club icon Vincent Kompany and other important figures talk about how bad things were and how far the club has come.

“I remember going to the toilet for the first time, and it was two cubicles. One had a door and the other one had the door hanging off, almost,” says Kompany about the Carrington training ground in the book, the excerpts of which were published by the Daily Mail. The 32-year-old Belgian had arrived at City in August 2008, just a week before Sheikh Mansour bought the club from ex-Thailand president Thaksin Shinawatra.

“There was a machine with weights where you couldn’t really lift it because there was so much rust on it. There was a punching bag that was half cut through the middle as if someone came in with a samurai sword. You had one glove to punch it, so you could develop an anomaly on one side from working out that way. And it was cold,” he said.

Pete Bradshaw, City’s director of infrastructure and estates, revealed the club’s finances were a total mess. “We had gone through periods where it was challenging to pay the staff. We could not order stationery. We’d bring pens and pencils from home for a while,” he says in the book.

However once the takeover was complete, Manchester City transformed almost overnight.

“We came back and they’d done one of those things you’d see on Extreme Makeovers or something,” says Kompany. “They’d changed the whole training facility. It was all short-term, makeshift, but it looked a million dollars and it was literally two weeks, which was incredible.”

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Pep Guardiola supports Jose Mourinho and defends his quality as a manager

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he has never doubted long-time rival Jose Mourinho‘s quality as a manager and insists Manchester United “remain a great team”.

Mourinho’s United have suffered defeats in two of their opening three games this season, losing 3-2 at Brighton and then 3-0 to Tottenham at Old Trafford on Monday.

It is the first time the club have lost two of their first three matches of a Premier League campaign since 1992-93, and the Spurs result was Mourinho’s heaviest home loss in management.

It has left United 13th in the table, six points behind Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and Watford, and four points behind defending champions City.

After the Tottenham game, Mourinho concluded a spiky post-match press conference by pointing out he had won the division three times, then demanding “respect, respect, respect” as he walked out.

And on Friday, speaking ahead of United’s match at Burnley on Sunday, the Portuguese described himself as “one of the greatest managers in the world”.

Guardiola, whose side host Newcastle on Saturday, said of Mourinho: “The history, and the way Jose did in all the places he was – it’s hats off.

“There’s no doubts about his quality. I never have in the past, and never now.”

Guardiola added: “Our position is results. But every manager, what he believes, what he likes, tries to get results in his own style.

“We are judged for the results we get.

“Only the players know exactly how you are as a manager because they know you and see you every day. They have more information than the rest of the world – the fans, the media, everybody.

“And normally, even (by) the players, we are judged – if they play, the manager is good, if they don’t play, the manager is not good.”

When Guardiola was asked if he was surprised about the amount of pressure Mourinho had come under so early in the season, he said: “(It’s) our job unfortunately.

“It’s happened to me in the past. All the managers – our job depends on results. When we win we are good, when we don’t win we are not good, it is simple like that.

“The important (thing) is to know the quality and always I believe when you get (to) that level in the Premier League, all the managers are here because they are top, top managers.”

Guardiola was also asked if he was surprised about United’s position in the table, and said: “(They) remain a great team, a top team.

“We’re just in August. It’s just August, so a lot of points to play (for), and after the international break starts the real season.”

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has no shortage of respect for Mourinho, who, as well as triumphing in the Premier League three times with Chelsea, has also won the top flight in Spain, Italy and Portugal, and the Champions League twice.

Dyche said: “My respect for people like Jose is because I am a young manager, learning the game, and these people have done enormous amounts in the game, for the game.

“People forget that. In this job you get questioned for what is happening now – people soon forget your history and what you’ve done.

“He’s done massive things for the game – for him, for the clubs, and for the game.

“I have respect for all those people, and all managers. But I think you’ve got to have a bit more respect for when they (people like Mourinho) have done the things they have done in the game.”

Dyche added: “I’m certainly not going to question his conduct because he knows what he is doing, I’m pretty sure of that, whatever everyone else thinks.”

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