Tottenham need to 'feel the pain' of defeats in order to grow - Mauricio Pochettino
LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino said it could benefit Tottenham Hotspur to "feel the pain" of three successive defeats and insisted he will stick with his rotation plan against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Pochettino has lost three consecutive games for the first time at Tottenham and admitted his confidence has been affected, but he believes his players will also learn from the experience.
"The group is OK," he said at a news conference. "The group is, of course, a little bit anxious about winning games because it's normal when you don't win. The faces are different, and the atmosphere and the energy is different. That's what happens.
"Sometimes it's good to feel the pain, the defeat, not only the one, two but three. It's so important to be clever and be strong."
After Premier League defeats against Watford and Liverpool, Tottenham fell away to Inter Milan 2-1 in their Champions League group-stage opener on Tuesday when Matias Vecino scored in the 92nd minute.
"Football is like life," Pochettino said. "It's impossible to keep 70 years of happiness. Always, there are periods of up and downs, and football is the same, up and downs. It's so important to learn from that period and keep calm.
"I am so relaxed, I am so calm, because I know football. In the same time, when you win, you get a lot of praise that sometimes you don't deserve. When you lose, you must keep the balance and accept the criticism and that people are going to think differently, and, of course, try to find the reason why we lose."
Pochettino has used a variety of different formations so far this season and has made frequent changes to his lineups, most recently leaving Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier in London for the game against Inter.
While results have not gone as intended, Pochettino is plotting further changes for Saturday's trip to Brighton, and he may able to call upon Dele Alli and Moussa Sissoko, who have returned to training after hamstring injuries and will be assessed on Friday.
"We have a plan, and then you win or you lose, but the plan is to help the players arrive in some moment in their best," Pochettino said. "I told you before the start of the season, it's a massive challenge this season because the circumstances are completely different than in the past.
"It was the same when we won against Newcastle, Fulham or Manchester United. We made changes and we rotated and helped the team. When you win or lose, you need to have a plan and to try to deliver it. You cannot change if you win or lose. If you are strong, in the end, you will have success. If you change, it's difficult to have success because you cannot work day by day."
Tottenham's set-piece defending remains a concern ahead of their visit to the Amex Stadium as they have conceded four goals from free kicks and corners in their last three matches, and Pochettino said he has spoken to his players a lot about conceding.
"But sometimes, when you talk a lot, it's like you put the focus on it, and when the moment arrives, it happens again because you create like a trauma," Pochettino said. "We need to be strong because the games that we lose, in the way we conceded the goals, it's so painful.
"But it happens in football and we need to be strong, and our belief is so important, to keep our belief. It's sure we're going to win games. It's a great opportunity on Saturday against Brighton."
Pochettino also attempted to clarify the statement he made earlier this week when he compared the value of experience to a cow who watches a train pass every day but remains unable to predict when it will come next.
"The most important thing is to be clever, improve and learn from the experience," Pochettino said. "That is the analogy. I tried to find another analogy. I didn't want to use that one. 'You will not play well tomorrow because you played well yesterday.' I only wanted to explain that.
"People say when people praise you, it makes you weak. I say yes, if you're not clever. If you're clever, you become strong. Everyone likes to be praised. If you take it in a good way, it makes you stronger. If you are not clever, it makes you weak."