Liverpool vs Tottenham: Mauricio Pochettino trying to stay calm under increasing pressure

Harry Latham-Coyle
Mauricio Pochettino, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur: Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Mauricio Pochettino is intent on remaining calm as Tottenham Hotspur prepare to face Premier League leaders Liverpool.

The Argentine has been put under pressure by a prolonged run of poor form, with Spurs already 13 points behind their opponents.

Pochettino is not panicking, however, and is backing his side to improve and learn from the rougher patch.

“I am more relaxed and more calm than I was five years ago,” Pochettino told Sky Sports.

“I am a coach and a person that doesn’t really feel the pressure or the stress. I love to have different experiences in my life and of course, if you win, it is easier but when you don’t win, you need to stay calm and show the balance too.

“This is a situation we use to learn and improve, and to enjoy too, because it is football and the drama of football is not the drama of life, that is why we feel very responsible. We care a lot about our job, the football club and our fans but most importantly, it is a game.”

Tottenham enjoyed a cathartic night in Champions League action this week, beating Red Star Belgrade 5-0 as they found a degree of attacking fluency.

The start of their season has been plagued by off-field speculation and rumours of discontent within the Spurs dressing room, with a number of key players and squad stalwarts supposedly unhappy with their manager and the club’s current plight.

Yet Pochettino says his side need to be “positive” to turn things around.

“We cannot relate the pressure to the players, we cannot create an environment that they don’t feel comfortable in. We always need to help them to be in an environment that can provide calmness, be together always because when we need them to perform in the best way, they can, only if they feel freedom and not the pressure.

“I feel great because you always need to be optimistic when you face problems. You have to be positive, it is the only way that you can change things.

“If you are not optimistic and you are negative, it is better to put the white flag up but I am not a person like this. I am a person who loves to face the problems and try to find a way to fix that.

“We are a group of people who love to face the problems and to behave the same and natural, that is the most important thing. We are all here to try to compete and to try to win but even when you don’t, you have to be positive and be strong with your ideas and your principles.”

Tottenham visit Anfield on Sunday afternoon in what will be Pochettino’s 200th game in charge of Spurs.

Liverpool thrice beat Spurs last season, including, of course, in June’s Champions League final.

Tottenham secured a comfortable, confidence-boosting win over Red Star Belgrade (Getty)

Jurgen Klopp’s side dropped their first points of the Premier League season last weekend after a eight-game winning start, but Pochettino is optimistic about his team’s chances.

“I don’t believe it’s a big test,” he said. “Of course, it is going to be difficult. Liverpool are having a fantastic season, last season they were very close in the Premier League with Man City, they won the Champions League final against us and I think they’re doing a fantastic job.

“Jurgen Klopp is a fantastic guy, I admire him and we have a great relationship. It is great to meet him and play against a team like Liverpool that have unbelievable players.

“For me, it is a joy to go there and the motivation is there is there to play in a stadium like Anfield – it always is amazing. When you have the opportunity to play this kind of game, you are thankful because you never know if you are going to have the opportunity to play it again.”

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