Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is enduring sleepless nights in his drive to leave a lasting legacy at the club.
Levy is currently consumed by delivering Spurs’ new stadium – a project that has suffered escalating costs and many delays and problems along the way.
There could be good news on the horizon, though, as the club are expected to announce test events at the state-of-the-art arena early next month and Pochettino is convinced it will be like no other stadium.
Levy is not universally popular with the club’s supporters, but Pochettino, who admits his boss is “not an easy man” thinks he deserves credit.
“The chairman is suffering a lot,” Pochettino said. “He is so tired about work. The last few months he didn’t sleep because he is trying to deliver the stadium.
“He is trying to make everyone happy but it’s a massive project. I think people don’t realise the magnitude of the project and how difficult it is to manage everything.
“Everyone is disappointed because we are still not playing there but the day we move everyone is going to realise how massive the project was and how good the facilities are.
“It doesn’t just depend on him. When you build something, you depend on many companies. I think it’s more than 20 that are working there. It’s so, so difficult.
“That is why I think he needs to feel the love from the fans and the club. He is working so hard, too hard, to leave a legacy forever. And I think that’s fantastic.
“When you compare the new stadium to other stadiums, we are going to be so lucky to play there.
“He is not an easy man. But he is so passionate to create some things for the fans and the staff and the players.
“He is always thinking to do things for other people. And of course, for the fans. That is a fantastic thing but the people sometimes struggle to understand.
“The team wins and the praise is for the players, the coaching staff or the manager. When lose, the first is him that the people blame – sometimes deserved! Sometimes, no.
“I think he deserves a fantastic recognition because what he’s doing, him and the board, is a fantastic thing for the club and it’s going to be there forever.”
The things Levy perhaps deserves the most credit for is bringing Pochettino to the club in 2014 as the Argentinian has performed above expectation, with qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League his latest achievement.
Mauricio Pochettino on constant links to Real Madrid: “I prefer to read this in the papers than that I am going to get sacked or that we are in a delicate situation.”
That has seen speculation linking him to Manchester United and Real Madrid resurface and Pochettino revealed previous episodes of conjecture have left his boss feeling worried, not that he feels the need to put Levy’s mind at ease.
“He no laugh,” he said. “I don’t get bored (about reading them) but he maybe is worried, he is concerned.
“But it’s normal. It’s not nice for Daniel to hear all that history.
“It’s like in football, when appear the sporting director or the president and say, ‘No, no, no. The manager is going to be here. We trust in him.’ The next game, lose the game, out!
“If you reassure something it’s because you are thinking in different (ways). He’s a worry man! That is different. He suffers.”
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Gameweek 16 in Fantasy Premier League can largely divide managers into two categories – those who had Mohamed Salah and those who didn’t.
Then of course, there are the few lucky ones – myself included – who went ahead and captained last season’s Premier League Player of the Year, gaining a whopping 42-point haul in the process.
Manchester City asset owners struggled after a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea, but surely that was merely a blip in the grand scale of things?
The good news is the champions are back at home this time with Everton as guests while a feisty Anfield encounter is in store for Liverpool who take on Manchester United.
Chelsea and Arsenal should fancy their chances away to Brighton and Southampton respectively while Tottenham have a mouthwatering clash at home to Burnley.
Here are a few tips ahead of Gameweek 17.
CAPTAIN – HARRY KANE | TOTTENHAM | 12.5M
After getting a bit of a rest in GW16, Harry Kane should return to the starting XI after Tottenham did enough against Barcelona to book a round of 16 berth in the Champions League.
With Burnley to face at Wembley, the England skipper is primed for a big haul as Sen Dyche’s side have a defensive record that is only better than Fulham’s in the league this season.
The Clarets are currently conceding more shots than any other team while Kane’s 14 efforts on target in the last six GWs is the highest in the league.
The striker is on a good run of form as well, delivering returns in each of his last five league starts.
RAHEEM STERLING (11.6m) is quickly becoming City’s undisputed talisman and that’s a huge statement given the quality of players in their squad. He didn’t excel in the false nine role at Stamford Bridge last week but was exceptional in the Champions League midweek and could continue in that vein of form at home to Everton.
SON HEUNG-MIN (8.5m) is one of the hottest FPL players at the moment. He’s delivered attacking returns in five of the last six GWs, including a 14-point haul last time out away to Leicester, scoring a stunning goal. He often plays alongside Kane and as a midfielder has bagged three goals and two assists in the last four GWs.
FELIPE ANDERSON (7.3m) has five goals and an assist in the last six GWs. With Marko Arnautovic injured, the Brazilian has emerged as West Ham’s chief attacking threat. He already has four double-figure hauls this season and faces a weak Fulham side away.
TWO TO WATCH
ABOUBAKAR KAMARA | FULHAM | 4.3M
We though Isaac Success was a bargain striker but Aboubakar Kamara has redefined the term since Claudio Ranieri took over Fulham. He is 0.3m cheaper than the Watford forward and seems to be more clinical in front of goal, scoring in each of his last two outings. The Cottagers should at least have a chance in their upcoming four fixtures.
JAVIER HERNANDEZ | WEST HAM | 6.4M
As far as straight swaps for Arnautovic go, Javier Hernandez is probably the no1 choice. Lucas Perez is an option as well but if Manuel Pellegrini opts for a lone striker, you’d expect the Mexican to be the preferred choice. With three goals and an assist in the last three GWs, he’s looking sharp and the Hammers still have a good run of fixtures ahead.
TWO TO AVOID
DAVID SILVA | MANCHESTER CITY | 8.7M
A City legend no doubt, but David Silva’s FPL contributions have diminished since Leroy Sane became a regular starter this season. The Spaniard has blanked in his last three outings and has now picked up an injury that will rule him out until January.
MAT RYAN| BRIGHTON | 4.6M
Brighton were on a run of three consecutive clean sheets from GW8 to 10 but that proved to be an anomaly. Those remain Mat Ryan’s only clean sheets this season and even though he hasn’t done too much wrong, his side keep conceding the odd goal. Brighton now face four of the ‘big six’ in the next seven GWs.
This series keeps tabs on all 20 Premier League teams as our season-long measurement for top-flight sides as we track each club throughout the campaign and take into account their results to assign positions.
We initially used reputation and squad worth to determine the starting price but from Gameweek 2 onward, we’ve examined their output to create a new value.
The total points gained for the season are used as a tiebreaker, but sides which have produced big wins against strong opposition get a big boost and vice versa.
Without further ado, here’s the rankings after GW15 and 16.
1. Manchester City: 575 / 567 / -8
Total for 2018/19: +71
Pep Guardiola grew increasingly frustrated as he watched his side miss chance after chance at Watford. Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez did find the net but Abdoulaye Doucoure’s 85th minute goal made it a nervy end for the champions who ended up clinging on when they should’ve been out of sight.
City were nevertheless favourites when they headed to Stamford Bridge and predictably dominated the early proceedings. However, Chelsea were boosted by N’Golo Kante’s goal against the run of play and emerged a different side in the second half, restricting the visitors to shots from range.
2. Liverpool: 552 / 560 / +8
Total for 2018/19: +85
Critics had their scathing words locked and ready as soon as Liverpool’s team sheet was made available at Burnley. Jurgen Klopp’s decision to make wholesale changes looked even more suspect when Jack Cork opened the scoring but he was vindicated by a fine response from his side who rallied to win 3-1.
Back at Anfield, Liverpool entertained Bournemouth who found Mohamed Salah in inspired form. The Egyptian was definitely in the mood and bagged a deserved hat-trick to lead the Reds to a comfortable 4-0 win with the rest of the side happy to support their main man.
3. Chelsea: 480 / 490 / +10
Total for 2018/19: +60
Chelsea dominated play away to Wolves but struggled to create clear-cut chances, taking the lead through a speculative shot from Ruben Loftus-Cheek which took a deflection. Once the hosts equalised through Raul Jimenez, the momentum shifted and it was always going to e Wolves to bag the winner from there.
The Blues were against the ropes at home against City during the opening exchanges but made their first real attacking move count with Kante netting on the stroke of half-time. They were perhaps the better side in the second half though, neutralising City’s threat while David Luiz scored a second to seal a huge win.
4. Arsenal: 480 / 486 / +6
Total for 2018/19: +42
Normally, a 2-2 draw away to Old Trafford would be considered a good result, but not against this Manchester United and certainly not with Arsenal’s current run of form. The Red Devils were there for the taking but the Gunners didn’t seem to get the memo. Both goals conceded were incredibly sloppy as well.
A big response was expected at the Emirates which Huddersfield entered like cattle into a slaughterhouse. Big guns Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alenxadre Lacazette didn’t quite find their range although the latter had a goal controversially ruled out for offside. In fairness to Unai Emery, he made changes at half-time which did influence the game but they still needed an overhead kick from Lucas Torreira to seal a 1-0 win.
5. Tottenham Hotspur: 450 / 462 / +12
Total for 2018/19: +42
Defeat in the north London derby was a setback but a win against Southampton was just the tonic. Tottenham looked comfortable for first hour as they peppered Alex McCarthy’s goal with shots and cruised to a 3-0 lead. However, they did ease off then and invited pressure from the Saints who bagged a late consolation goal.
A trip to the King Power Stadium was a potentially tricky one but Spurs navigated it expertly. Harry Kane was rested with the crucial Barcelona clash on the horizon but they managed to retain a significant attacking threat without him. Son Heung-min scored with a spanking effort to break the deadlock. The defence held firm and Spurs always had chances from winning the ball with their high-press, eventually doubling their lead when Son crossed for Dele Alli.
6. Manchester United: 438 / 450 / +12
Total for 2018/19: -8
Despite the contrasting fortunes of the two sides this season, Jose Mourinho managed to get his side – absent Paul Pogba – riled up for Arsenal’s visit and they largely matched their much-fancied opponents. Glaring shortcomings in their play were still evident but they showed character to respond quickly to both Arsenal goals and could take plenty of positives from the 2-2 draw.
The boost in confidence was unmistakable when Fulham arrived at Old Trafford a few days later. It was a rare Devilish performance from the Reds as they bombarded the visitors’ goal and scored four in the league for the first time since early last season.
7. Everton: 384 / 386 / +2
Total for 2018/19: +15
Unfortunate to lose the Merseyside derby, Everton would’ve felt just as aggrieved with a 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle. They dominated proceedings, enjoying 77 per cent possession. However, they were wayward with their shooting as only three efforts of 19 found the target, forcing them to settle for a share of the spoils.
Watford’s visit proved to be a bigger challenge with the Hornets posing a significant attacking threat of their own. The Toffees were still the better team but failed to make the most of their chances much to Marco Silva’s chagrin. Even so, a late Lucas Digne free-kick salvaged a point which was the least they deserved.
8. West Ham: 360 / 370 / +10
Total for 2018/19: +7
Losing Marko Arnautovic through injury in the first half was the only disappointment against Cardiff City. West Ham, playing at home, were easily the better side while the Austrian’s replacement Lucas Perez fired in a brace to help them to a 3-1 win.
Crystal Palace were the next to visit the London Stadium and had some good moments in attack. However, the Hammers were superior with their chance creation. A 3-2 win for the hosts was deserved but the scoreline was closer than they would’ve liked.
9. Leicester City: 366 / 356 / -10
Total for 2018/19: +2
Claudio Ranieri returned to his old stomping ground as the former Leicester City boss asked plenty of questions of the home team. The Foxes seemed vulnerable in the transition and were perhaps even lucky to get a 1-1 draw in the end despite looking sharper in the closing stages.
Try as they may, Leicester simply didn’t produce the guile needed to unlock Tottenham’s defence in their next game. The away side set up perfectly and caused problems with the high-press. Leicester’s bluntness in attack in the absence of Jamie Vardy was a cause for concern.
10. Wolves: 324 / 342 / +18
Total for 2018/19: +45
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side has struggled of late after enjoying a fine start to the season. Their performance against Chelsea though was spot on, soaking up the pressure, conceding only from a deflected effort, before going on the offensive in the second half and sealing a superb 2-1 comeback victory.
The win against Maurizio Sarri’s side would’ve meant little though if they then tripped up against Newcastle. The score level at 1-1, DeAndre Yedlin’s 57th minute sending off gave the visiting pack the advantage. Several close calls later, Matt Doherty popped up with a dramatic stoppage time winner at the end of a counter-attack.
11. Bournemouth: 334 / 332 / -2
Total for 2018/19: +52
Enduring a tough run of fixtures, Bournemouth desperately needed a win against Huddersfield but weren’t the most convincing at the Vitality Stadium. Early goals from Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser meant the hosts couldn’t resist the temptation to hold on to their two-goal lead for the rest of the encounter, finishing with a narrow 2-1 victory.
No chance of holding out against Liverpool and Salah at Anfield though. With Wilson injured as well, their threat on the counter was mitigated. The Cherries crumbled under relentless pressure to the Reds, losing 4-0.
12. Watford: 296 / 300 / +4
Total for 2018/19: +50
Watford were living dangerously against City at Vicarage Road but given the quality of opposition, that was perfectly understandable. To their credit, they did launch an assault on the visitors’ goal in the closing stages and Doucoure’s 85th minute goal had the champions clinging on to victory in the end.
Javi Gracia’s side then traveled to Goodison Park where they went toe-to-toe with their hosts and so nearly came away with all three points. They had plenty of efforts at goal and a reasonable chunk of play but sat deeper and deeper with the final whistle approaching, eventually succumbing to Digne’s late free-kick.
13. Brighton: 295 / 299 / +4
Total for 2018/19: +49
Going down to ten men in midway through the first half, Brighton showed plenty of fight to still win 3-1. They needed some last-ditch defending and a few saves from Mat Ryan to get them over the line but it was still a Herculean effort from Chris Hughton’s side.
Their next outing however was disappointing. Burnley have been woeful this season, particularly in defence, but picked up a rare clean sheet on the Seagulls’ visit. The concern for Hughton will be the lack of chances his side created despite chasing an equaliser for half the game after James Tarkowski’s 40th minute goal.
14. Crystal Palace: 302 / 292 / -10
Total for 2018/19: +6
One step forward and two back for Crystal Palace. Following a draw at Old Trafford and a win at home to Burnley, Roy Hodgson’s side lost 3-1 away to 10-man Brighton. Shane Duffy was given this marching orders in the 28th minute but the visitors couldn’t capitalise on their numerical advantage.
The Eagles put up a reasonable fight on their travels to West Ham but a leaky defence was again their undoing. Despite taking an early lead, a 17-minute blitz early in the second half from the hosts saw the Hammers go 3-1 ahead. Jeffrey Schlupp made it 3-2 to set up an entertaining end to the game but in vain.
15. Newcastle United: 287 / 291 / +4
Total for 2018/19: +1
A fine move resulted in Salomon Rondon putting Newcastle ahead at Goodison Park in the 19th minute. With something to hold on to, the Magpies then spent the rest of the game trying to salvage a result after Richarlison equalised on the half-hour mark. Despite a bombardment from the hosts, Rafa Benitez’s side was able to come away with a valuable point.
Back at St James’ Park, Newcastle gave a good account of themselves against Wolves, responding to Diogo Jota’s opener with an equaliser six minutes later. Yedlin’s sending off meant they had to play the final half hour a man down but even had chances to win it before the visitors struck with a killer blow deep into injury time.
16. Burnley: 269 / 273 / +4
Total for 2018/19: -16
Burnley would’ve been encouraged by Klopp’s decision to field a significantly weakened Liverpool side at Turf Moor and their performance reflected that. Having taken the lead in the second half though, conceding three in reply would’ve been disappointing while the gulf in the class at the top end of the pitch was eye-opening.
A win against Brighton would’ve certainly lifted their mood and a clean sheet was perhaps as encouraging as the three points. They restricted the visitors well and were never really under significant pressure.
17. Fulham: 270 / 264 / -6
Total for 2018/19: -26
Ranieri was back at the King Power Stadium but in the away dugout this time as he took his Fulham charges to face his former side. The Londoners performed admirably, putting Leicester to the sword and perhaps even edging the encounter but had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
In contrast, the Cottagers didn’t show up for the first half at Old Trafford and were comfortably run over by a United side with their tails up. They improved in the second period but the damage was done by then as they suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat.
18. Southampton: 260 / 250 / -10
Total for 2018/19: -20
Southampton didn’t just sit on the edge of their own box away to Spurs but perhaps they should’ve. They did try to play but never had the guile to fashion many chances of note while the hosts were able to pick them off with ease at the other end in a 3-1 win for Mauricio Pochettino’s troops.
At Cardiff, the Saints saw much more of the ball, but again, clear-cut chances were at a premium. They did have plenty of forays into the final third but a killer instinct was lacking while they always gave the opposition a chance at the other end. Jannik Vestergaard’s error led to a fortuitous goal for Callum Paterson.
19. Huddersfield Town: 233 / 241 / -8
Total for 2018/19: +2
Huddersfield saw plenty of the ball away to Bournemouth after the hosts went 2-0 up by the 22nd minute. However, a lack of firepower continues to hinder them, scoring the fewest goals in the league with just 10.
They posed a substantial challenge for high-flying Arsenal at the Emirates, providing plenty of resistance to the heavily armed Gunners’ attack. However, they were always low on ammunition themselves and with no shots o target, fell to a 1-0 defeat.
20. Cardiff City: 222 / 226 / +4
Total for 2018/19: +26
Always second best away to West Ham, Neil Warnock’s side put up a fight nevertheless. They’re already in relegation-scrappers mode and maybe that’s for the best. When you’ve got a former right-back leading the line, there’s only so much you can do and hope to nick enough points come the end of the season.
Paterson – that defender by trade – hit the back of the net again at home to Southampton. The Bluebirds were forced to play on the break but did well to limit the Saints to just the one effort on target. Three massive points for the hosts moved them up to 14th in the table.