Tottenham's Fernando Llorente, Lucas Moura have 'massive opportunity' - Pochettino
SAN DIEGO -- Mauricio Pochettino will not give Fernando Llorente any assurances about his future, but he says the striker has an opportunity to impress during Tottenham Hotspur's preseason tour.
Llorente had a disappointing debut campaign with Spurs last season, only scoring five goals -- three of which came against League One side Rochdale.
The 33-year-old made his mark during Tottenham's first International Champions Cup match against Roma on Wednesday, scoring two first-half goals in a 4-1 victory. Lucas Moura scored the other two goals for Spurs after Patrick Schick had given Roma an early lead.
But Pochettino, who stated earlier this week that Vincent Janssen is surplus to requirements while Josh Onomah is part of his plans, was evasive when asked about Llorente's future.
"I'm not going to talk about individual situations because if I'm going to talk now about someone then I need to speak about everyone," he said. "I am focusing on trying to work hard, trying to provide the team and every single player with the best tools to improve.
"Of course I am happy when the striker scores and feels the net -- Llorente and Lucas Moura. They are working so hard.
"The preseason is a little bit different to before because of the World Cup, and we've got so many players away. But it's a massive opportunity for them to show and fight for a place in the starting XI. Then there are many rumours around the team.
"I cannot talk and I don't want to talk because I think we need to be focused on trying to work hard and trying to arrive in the best way and in the best form for the first game of the season."
Pochettino is preparing for the new campaign without the nine players who reached the World Cup semi-finals, and he admits it is far from ideal that the Premier League season kicks off again as soon as Aug. 10.
"I think the World Cup was the World Cup -- different circumstances," he said. "The players need to rest.
"The players need a period to recover after more than 10 months of competition. I'm not going to complain about that. I completely understand that they need 20 or 21 days to be away from football.
"Of course that is a massive disadvantage because to prepare the season in that way will be tough for them. But I need to adapt to what the Premier League propose. We cannot delay the start of the season. "We start earlier than other leagues and countries. There's nothing to do. I think we're all going to be in a similar condition, some teams with more problems than others -- but I think it's about translating the confidence and trust we have in the squad. "I think Wednesday was a great opportunity for younger players to show their quality, like Luke Amos, or of course Kyle Walker-Peters and Anthony Georgiou, George Marsh and Oliver Skipp -- players that can be important one day.
"That experience we can give them to play, it's so important to compete in that level and I am so happy about that. But I am not going to complain. That is the reality and we cannot change it."
Pochettino will lose another player after the opening league match against Newcastle as Heung-Min Son heads off to the Asian Games, and the Argentinian said: "I cannot change the reality and I'm not going to cry. "We miss a lot of players due to the World Cup. We need to adapt. Of course Sonny is a very important player to us. But I cannot change the reality, even if it is hurting us."