Mauricio Pochettino: This will be my 'toughest season' at Tottenham
LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino admits this is likely to be his toughest season yet at Tottenham Hotspur and that the club are in a "difficult situation," but he insists he does not regret signing a new five-year contract and has backed chairman Daniel Levy's vision for the future.
Spurs finished the summer transfer window without making any signings, and nine of their top internationals only returned to training five days before the first fixture against Newcastle.
The club have since announced that the opening of their new stadium has been delayed until late October until the earliest, and it is unclear where or when they will play their home fixture against reigning champions Manchester City at the end of that month.
"For [all the reasons], for me, it will be the toughest season, and I think if we want success we have to give more than our best," said Pochettino. "It's not enough, 100 percent. It's 200 percent.
"We know from inside that it will be hard, the season, and because we are warriors we want to fight. We want to be proud in the end. We want success and not to complain or make excuses. I am a winner and I love the challenge, so that is why I feel I have full energy."
Despite the problems he faces, Pochettino remains happy with his decision to sign a new deal in May, committing himself to Spurs for another five years.
"I am very grateful to the club, to the fans and to Daniel Levy," he said. "When you are in a difficult situation, this is the moment when you need to show that you are there.
"It's easy when everything is good to be there but when the winter is coming to run away. I think to be there in the front line fighting with all the circumstances that today are in the club, I feel the responsibility to be there.
"That is why I am here, and because I'm happy and I think Tottenham gave us -- my family, Jesus [Perez] everyone -- a lot of things that always we will be grateful for.
"It was a moment to say 'I am going to be with you all, fighting against the circumstances,' because we knew what was going to happen."
If Tottenham slip backwards on the field this season, Pochettino and his players may escape much of the criticism, with supporters instead directing much of their anger at Levy.
The Spurs chairman is already bearing much of the brunt of fans' frustrations over the lack of transfer activity and the stadium delay. But Pochettino has leapt to the defence of his boss.
"First of all, I think we are going to be successful, and second there is no point blaming the club, the board or Daniel," said the Argentine. "He is doing, with the board, an amazing effort to create the legacy that will be there for the rest of the generation, and forever.
"You cannot blame a person that cannot sleep because he is thinking about how to deliver the best job for the club.
"It's easy for the responsible people such as Daniel to think 'OK, rather than investing in creating a massive training ground and building a new stadium, let's put the money into players. Happy? In 20 years, I'm going to be remembered for winning the Premier League.' But in the end, there would still be 35,000 in the stadium. It's how you grow up and have a vision.
"It generates income and resources the club will need to be in the top four and have good players. The manager complains, the players complain, the fans complain -- but he is working with his people trying to build the new era in the stadium."
Pochettino continued: "Of course you can tell me 'Mauricio you are so nice, so kind [to him] because if you don't win on Saturday you are going to be sacked. [That would be] no problem. But I've spent 12 hours [a day] or more here and I know how he suffers, how much the people here suffer.
"The fans only need to be patient, to believe and support the club through a very difficult moment. I'm sure we're going to have success in the future, with myself or with another manager.
"To help today the club in that difficult moment, I think it was my responsibility to be here."