EPL

Pochettino: Team dinner will benefit Tottenham in the long term

By Sports Desk October 25, 2019

Mauricio Pochettino hopes that a team meal this week will stand Tottenham in good stead for the long term.

Tottenham's players invited Pochettino and his coaching staff to a social event in London on Thursday, three days ahead of their Premier League trip to Liverpool.

Last season's Champions League runners-up beat Red Star Belgrade 5-0 on Wednesday - just their fourth win in 12 matches, a run that led to talk of possible unrest behind the scenes.

However, Pochettino thinks the midweek meet-up could boost his players' morale as they prepare for a defining period in the campaign.

"It was very good, and very kind of them to invite the coaching staff," he said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"It was a little busy. We spent a few hours there and it is always nice to see people in a different environment.

"That doesn't mean we are going to go to Anfield and win 5-0 because we were nice all together. But it is going to help in the long-term."

Sunday's match on Merseyside will be a repeat of June's Champions League final, which Liverpool won 2-0 through an early Mohamed Salah penalty and a late strike from Divock Origi. 

Nearly five months on, Pochettino admits he has just about managed to get the pain of the defeat in Madrid out of his system.

"The Champions League final is all or nothing and it was nothing," he said. "To be second for us is nothing.

"It means a lot of the club to reach final of Champions League but players and the staff felt empty after the game.

"With time you can say, 'OK we played in the final of the Champions League' but that will always be the deal.

"But we have spoken a lot now and we are back to full energy. We have recovered from that and it's the moment to build our confidence and trust and start to show our talent and potential."

Pochettino has a virtually fully fit squad to choose from this weekend, with captain Hugo Lloris his only confirmed absentee.

That could mean a debut for Ryan Sessegnon, who has been carrying a hamstring injury suffered on international duty during the close season.

"Maybe he will be available but it's always the same - when one is in, one is out," Pochettino said. 

"If you plan for him to be on the bench you need to take someone off the bench. It's about waiting, being consistent and showing his quality and to wait for the opportunity that he will have during the season."

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