Mauricio Pochettino has suggested there is is a lack of unity in the Tottenham squad, admitting the level of “strong team bond” expected of the players is currently far from where it should be.
Spurs fell to their first defeat of the season on Sunday, losing 1-0 at home to Newcastle United and putting in a dire display in front of their own fans. Joelinton’s first half goal was enough to win in for the visitors, though Tottenham arguably should have been awarded a penalty by the VAR.
Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen were left out of the starting line-up again amid speculation about their futures. Eriksen eventually came on but could do nothing to turn things round as he did so effectively against Aston Villa on the opening weekend.
After the game, Pochettino suggested ongoing transfer speculation is not affecting the team, but he admitted the current mood is not where it should be when asked if Eriksen has played his last game for the club.
“I don’t know. I don’t know. Why you ask me? Maybe you know something,” Pochettino said (via Football London). “It’s so difficult, the situation. We cannot blame one party or another. That is the situation, the circumstances. We arrive today with different players and different situations in the squad but I don’t want to justify our performance because of that. I want to make clear the point. When you play football and are on the pitch you don’t think about these situations.
“Of course the problem is during the week, when you arrive at the competition maybe it can affect but I think we should with a bit more today be winning. This type of stuff happens in the Premier League and that’s why you not only need quality players, you need a very good dynamic, and strong team bond and at the moment that situation in our group is still far far away from what we expect.”
He added: “I think this is my sixth season and the most unsettled group we are working with. That is why we are relaxed and calm. Some situations we cannot fix. Nothing to say about that, situations that are going on in the squad. Still we need to wait.”
Despite the concern, Pochettino appears to be quite calm and relaxed about the situation. Perhaps things will get better once the European transfer window closes, regardless of whether Eriksen stays.
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