'No regrets' over quiet transfer window, says Pochettino

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Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is adamant he does not regret not adding to his squad in the summer and pointed to his side’s joint best Premier League start as justification.

Spurs became the first side not to make a summer signing since the transfer window’s inception, but they have gone on to amass a joint club-record 18 points from their opening eight games, which included back-to-back defeats.

Chairman Daniel Levy hinted this week in a meeting with the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust that he was content with their summer activity, and Pochettino agreed with him.

“It was difficult to achieve the player we needed,” Pochettino said. “That was impossible. I was happy and am happy with the squad that I have, 25 players.

“We have no regrets, we are happy. When we started the season with three games that we won and we were up at the top of the table people were talking in a different way, ‘Oh how clever are Tottenham because they keep all the squad from last season’.

“After we lost some games all the alarms started to make a big impact in the perception. But I need to remind everyone that this is our best start after eight games, it is the best start in the Premier League for Tottenham.

“We have one more point than last season and I am not happy about that because we are fifth in the table and the ambition is to be on the top.

“At the same time we are realistic and with all the circumstance we suffered in the summer, with the World Cup and the players that arrived the week before the start of the season, the challenge was bigger for everyone.

“We kept fighting and we are very close to the top of the table.

“We are happy but we are trying to improve, trying to be ambitious and be top of the table.

Tottenham resume their Premier League campaign, where they have won their last three games, with a trip across London to West Ham on Saturday.

And they have better news on the injury front as Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele are fit again after respective abdomen and thigh problems.

Dele Alli (hamstring) and Danny Rose (groin) remain 10 days away from fitness and Jan Vertonghen (hamstring) still has a way to go in his recovery.

“It was a good time for us because we are going to recover a few players like Christian and Mousa Dembele,” the boss added.

“Still maybe 10 days more for Dele Alli and Danny Rose is the same, one week more. Jan Vertonghen is a little bit longer.

“But the most important thing is that we start to recover players. It will be a tough month of competition for us.

“There are a lot of games ahead and it’s so important to have nearly all the squad fit to compete and play and to give options to rotate and share the games because it will be tough, the months we have ahead.

“We have seven games in one month, in four weeks, and it’s so important to have all fit to compete and to give the level that we want.”

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Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham owner Shahid Khan withdraws offer in Wembley sale

Matt Slater 17/10/2018
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American billionaire Shahid Khan has withdrawn his offer to buy Wembley Stadium from the Football Association.

The proposed deal was worth £900million and the FA intended to spend the windfall on transforming grassroots facilities across the country over the next 20 years.

But the idea of selling the stadium, which cost £757million to build, has always been controversial with many in the game and Khan, who owns Fulham and the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, has now given up trying to win them over.

In a statement, FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: “Shahid Khan has informed us today that he will be withdrawing his offer to buy the stadium – and we fully respect his decision.

“Mr Khan believed his offer to buy Wembley Stadium would release funds to help improve community football facilities in England and that it would be well received by all football stakeholders.

“At a recent meeting with Mr Khan he expressed to us that, without stronger support from within the game, his offer is being seen as more divisive than it was anticipated to be and has decided to withdraw his proposal.”

Glenn, who has lobbied hard for the deal, added that the “iconic venue…will continue to thrive under the ownership and direction of the FA” and noted that the debate sparked by Khan’s offer has “raised awareness” of the need to upgrade England’s community facilities.

As well as having the support of the FA’s senior leadership, the proposed deal was backed by the government and the professional game, but there were significant doubts elsewhere, most notably at the grassroots level itself.

Khan had eventually hoped to use Wembley as a home for his relocated Jaguars and was willing to agree to a number of highly restrictive conditions on how he would run the national stadium, most notably in terms of maintaining it as a venue for all of English football’s biggest games.

But concerns about whether the FA was selling the family silver too cheaply, its ability to spend the money wisely and Khan’s long-term plans for the stadium have all conspired against the sale.

The unlikelihood of this position changing became obvious at a meeting of the FA Council last week, when the room was evenly split, something the FA’s own nation-wide consultation with coaches, fans, players and officials had already discovered.

The Council was scheduled to meet again on Tuesday to vote on the matter, but that meeting will now presumably be cancelled.

In a statement, Khan said: “I’ve been clear publicly as well as in my correspondence with the FA Council that it would require a proper partnership, with the full and enthusiastic commitment of all involved, to maximise the benefits to the FA and game of football by way of 100 per cent private ownership of Wembley Stadium.

“At this moment, following last week’s FA Council hearing, it appears there is no definitive mandate to sell Wembley and my current proposal, subsequently, would earn the backing of only a slim majority of the FA Council, well short of the conclusive margin that the FA chairman has required.

“The intent of my efforts was, and is, to do right by everyone in a manner that strengthens the English game and brings people together, not divides them.

“Unfortunately, given where we are today, I’ve concluded that the outcome of a vote next week would be far from sufficient in expressing the broad support favoured by the FA chairman to sell Wembley Stadium.

“Until a time when it is evident there is an unmistakable directive from the FA to explore and close a sale, I am respectfully withdrawing my offer to purchase Wembley Stadium.”

The 68-year-old businessman added that he “cannot rule out” coming back to the table at some point in the future if “the Football Association family is unified” on the deal’s merits, but said the “journey was not without its rewards”, as he made new friends along the way and would be “willing to re-engage with the FA on this matter under proper circumstances”.

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Chelsea and England legend John Terry reflects on managerial ambitions

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John Terry insists he remains several years away from becoming a manager in his own right.

The 37-year-old has recently taken his first coaching role at former club Aston Villa, where he is assistant manager to Dean Smith.

Former team mates Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard have both taken their first steps into management this season, at Derby and Rangers respectively, but Terry is happy taking his time to learn exactly what the job entails while he develops his own ideas about how he would want his teams to play.

“I have aspirations to be a manager one day but that is in four or five years – I’m nowhere near the finished article,” Terry said in an interview with the BBC.

“Even my first day was a real eye-opener for me – as a player you don’t realise the depth and the amount of work that goes on.

“You turn up as a player and get on with the session. Yesterday we were going through it for an hour beforehand, and then another hour and a half afterwards.”

Terry, who spent the final season of his illustrious playing career at Villa, worked under the likes of Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti and Fabio Capello for club and country.

Each manager had their own way of doing things and own style of play and Terry will have learned things from each of them.

Asked what his own philosophy will be when he goes into management, Terry replied: “Firstly, I love to watch teams that win.

“I am still building my ideas and my philosophy. I have learned over the years from many great managers – I am a sponge and I am keen to learn from him [Smith] and [assistant] Richard O’Kelly.

“Look at Brentford’s style of play. Take Wolves and Fulham away and Brentford were probably the best footballing side in the league last season.

“The gaffer has a real identity. I will be there and keen to follow and assist as and when I can.”

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