Harry Kane acknowledged he is experiencing his toughest period at Tottenham but has backed the club to get out of their slump.

Spurs were held to a disappointing 1-1 Premier League draw by Watford on Saturday, leaving Mauricio Pochettino's side without a win in three matches in all competitions.

They are seventh in the Premier League and go into Tuesday's Champions League clash with Red Star Belgrade third in Group B after picking up just one point from their first two games.

Kane is at a loss to explain the club's poor run of form but believes they are only one positive result away from turning their season around.

"It's hard to put a finger on exactly what's wrong," the England international told a media conference. "Sometimes when you're having a run of form like this, things don't always go your way in games.

"It's about sticking together and if we win tomorrow night that can kick-start us.

"It's probably the toughest time since I've been here. It’s just another challenge, though. The road to success will always have bumps and this is just one of them.

"We went through an experience in the last Champions League campaign where we had less points than we do now. We know about the effort it takes to get through a Champions League group. We have to believe and fight for everything together."

Kane also dismissed rumours Tottenham's players are fatigued after being overworked by Pochettino.  

"There’s going to be speculation when things aren't going well, when you're not winning games," he added. "People will look from the outside for excuses. From our point of view, we work hard every day.

"We have worked hard since the manager came here to improve as players and as a team; that hasn't changed.

"It would be wrong to do more or less. We need to carry on doing what we have always done and that is keep working as hard as possible."

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says the club's situation looks worse due to heightened expectations after last year's run to the Champions League final.

Pochettino oversaw a stunning campaign in Europe last time out, with his side ultimately succumbing to a 2-0 defeat to domestic rivals Liverpool in Madrid.

The club have endured a sobering start to the 2019-20 campaign, though, languishing seventh in the Premier League and suffering a 7-2 Champions League humiliation by Bayern Munich earlier this month.

Their form has led to speculation that Pochettino's position could be under threat, but the 47-year-old does not think the situation is as dire as many have suggested and says he is working hard to turn around his players' confidence.

"The expectation changed after the Champions League final and that is why the situation looks worse," he told a media conference ahead of Spurs' Champions League clash with Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday.

"The most important thing is to build our confidence again. When all the circumstances are against you, you need to be strong and work harder because you need to expend more energy.

"I am talking to the players collectively and individually. For many of our players this is the first time they've been in a tough period.

"For 99 per cent of our players they were in a very good period for the past five years. It's a very new thing for them.

"Every game is important. It's important to win tomorrow to be in a good position in the table. In this type of period our worst opponent is ourselves and we need to build our confidence."

Pochettino added he is not surprised at rumours over his future, suggesting past success counts for little in football.

"That’s football; I’m not surprised," he said. "In the same way they praise you, football is all about winning. What happened yesterday is gone."

Tottenham are third in Champions League Group B, having picked up just one point from their opening two games. 

Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld insisted Spurs are still "fighting" for manager Mauricio Pochettino amid the club's struggles.

Spurs were held to a disappointing 1-1 Premier League draw by Watford on Saturday, leaving Tottenham without a win in three matches in all competitions.

Pochettino's future has come into question as Tottenham languish in seventh position, while they were humiliated 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League prior to the international break.

However, Alderweireld said Spurs are behind Pochettino, who led Tottenham to the Champions League final last season.

"There is a team on the pitch and you see us fighting," Belgium international Alderweireld said.

"Everyone is behind the club and the manager otherwise we could not have put the effort we put in."

Alderweireld added: "I think we didn't make the right decisions. At the end they had one long ball and they scored. It's difficult, not positive, but in the second half we changed the game.

"We did a lot better. We could have scored a lot more goals. We need to improve and improve and improve. It's the same players [as last season] and we have to get out of this."

Tottenham host Red Star Belgrade on matchday three in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Premier League leaders Liverpool's winning start to the season was brought to a halt as they drew 1-1 against fierce rivals Manchester United on Sunday.

Marcus Rashford's contentious goal looked set to claim all three points for United in the clash at Old Trafford, but substitute Adam Lallana hauled Liverpool level late on.

The Reds are still unbeaten in the league this season and lead the way, although Manchester City's victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday means the gap is now six points.

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino will not have been pleased by another unconvincing Tottenham display despite Dele Alli rescuing a point for Spurs against Watford.

Chelsea overcame Newcastle United, while Leicester City got back on the winning trail following their heartbreak at Anfield.

Marco Silva's Everton claimed a much-needed win over West Ham, with Aston Villa beating Brighton and Hove Albion late on. Wolves drew with Southampton and Norwich City held Bournemouth in Saturday's other encounters.

Our Premier League Data Diary sheds some light on the detail behind the big stories of this weekend's big games.

 

SEVENTEEN AND OUT FOR LIVERPOOL

Lallana may have scored his first league goal since May 2017, but it was only enough to earn Liverpool a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, as the Reds failed to win for the first time in 18 Premier League matches.

It means, with 17 straight victories, the top-flight leaders fall just short of the Premier League record set by City in 2017.

Jurgen Klopp was furious that Rashford's opener was allowed to stand, though the goal means the England forward has now scored 11 times against "big six" opposition.

It was backs-against-the-wall stuff for United for much of the match, with the Red Devils registering their second-lowest possession figure (32.1 per cent) in a Premier League home match since 2003-04.

Five of the last seven Premier League meetings between the north west rivals have ended level – just four of the previous 36 encounters had been drawn.

JESUS RISES TO THE CHALLENGE AS CITY BOUNCE BACK

City's slip-up before the international break allowed Liverpool to open up an eight-point gap, but Pep Guardiola's side responded in confident fashion on Saturday.

Gabriel Jesus scored his 50th City goal to put the champions ahead at Selhurst Park, with the Brazil international becoming the seventh player to reach that milestone while being coached by Guardiola, joining Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Thomas Muller and Pedro on an illustrious list. 

David Silva added City's second, just 93 seconds after Jesus' opener as Palace succumbed to a 10th home league defeat since the start of last season.

City have now won 12 of their 14 away Premier League games in 2019, three more than any other club this calendar year, while in all competitions they have won 16 of their previous 19 meetings with Palace, scoring 47 goals.

Jesus has been directly involved in 58 goals in his 64 starts across all competitions for the club, including scoring 21 in his last 20 games when featuring in the starting XI.

ALLI SAVES A POINT BUT SPURS' SLUGGISH RUN ROLLS ON

A mix-up between Kiko Femenia and Ben Foster may have allowed Alli to salvage a point for Tottenham against Watford, but Spurs have now won just three of their last 12 Premier League games, keeping just one clean sheet across those games.

Lowly Watford thought Abdoulaye Doucoure's early goal was going to be enough, but the Hornets remain winless in the Premier League this season, failing to win their opening nine league games for the first time since 2006-07, when they went on to finish bottom.

Spurs made seven changes to their starting XI for this match, with Alli rewarding Pochettino for his faith as he scored his fifth league goal against Watford.

Watford lost Danny Welbeck to injury in the fourth minute – the earliest substitution of a starting player in a Premier League match since Daniel Sturridge for West Brom against Chelsea in February 2018.

IT'S...... JAMIE VARDY

After their late defeat at Anfield, Leicester returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Burnley, albeit it was a triumph not without some controversy as Sean Dyche's side had a late goal harshly disallowed by VAR.

Jamie Vardy cancelled out Chris Wood's opener, heading home a cross from Harvey Barnes, who later became the second youngest player to provide two assists in a Premier League game for the Foxes when he teed up Youri Tielemans' winner.

Since Brendan Rodgers' first Premier League game in charge of Leicester on March 3rd, Vardy has scored 15 top-flight goals – two more than any other player.

In-form Leicester have now won four consecutive home Premier League matches for the first time since winning five in a row in May 2017, while the Clarets have won just 16 times from Burnley's 100 away matches in the top tier.

Mauricio Pochettino felt sympathy towards Watford following confusion over the outcome of a VAR check for Tottenham's late equaliser on Saturday.

The Premier League's bottom club led 1-0 away at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for much of the contest following Abdoulaye Doucoure's sixth-minute strike.

Watford also had a strong appeal for a penalty dismissed following a review – Gerard Deulofeu going down following a sliding challenge from Jan Vertonghen – before Spurs levelled in the closing stages.

Dele Alli capitalised on a collision between visiting goalkeeper Ben Foster and substitute Kiko Femenia, though VAR was required to see if the scorer had used his arm to control the ball before finishing with his left foot.

The decision initially flashed up as 'no goal' on the big screen – despite the score on display changing to 1-1 – but Pochettino confirmed the misunderstanding was down to the Premier League, rather than a Spurs employee. He was also adamant the right call was made in the end, insisting Alli had used his shoulder and not his arm.

"It's nothing to do with us, it's dependent on the Premier League. We don't manage that situation," he told the media.

"But, of course, I understand that it was a little bit confusing and it was tough for Quique [Sanchez Flores], because he thought it was no goal. 

"But it's not Tottenham's responsibility, it's the Premier League's responsibility and of course like everyone, maybe the guy who pressed the button made a mistake. Everyone can make a mistake. 

"The most important thing is when you check the goal, it was a goal, it came off his shoulder and I think it was legal. But I can understand that for Watford, Quique and their players, I feel so, so bad."

Tottenham needed a helping hand to grab a point after another below-par display, the result following on from back-to-back defeats prior to the international break.

Pochettino hopes his squad can now begin to turn the corner following a difficult spell.

"It was so important in the way that we achieved the point in the end, the team was fighting, we showed character," the former Southampton boss said. 

"We have quality but when you are in this type of situation the most important thing is the character you need to show. Talent comes after, you need to fight and you need to run and you need to be strong in your mind.

"When everything is good you fly, when everything is going against you you need to be so strong and you spend a lot of energy because every single action you expect to score or create a chance.

"This is the first step to build our confidence again."

Tottenham were rescued by a late equaliser as Dele Alli salvaged a 1-1 draw at home to the Premier League's bottom club Watford.

Having gone into the international break on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, which followed on from their 7-2 capitulation to Bayern Munich, Spurs looked set to become the first team to lose to Watford in the league this term until a mix-up between Ben Foster and Kiko Femenia presented Alli with the chance to sweep in a late equaliser.

Chelsea claimed a fifth successive win in all competitions by beating Newcastle United 1-0 as Frank Lampard's side temporarily moved up to third, a place behind Leicester City, who came from behind to beat Burnley 2-1 thanks to goals from Jamie Vardy and Youri Tielemans.

Leicester and Chelsea were then overtaken by Manchester City, however, as the defending champions – who started with Rodri and Fernandinho in the centre of defence – beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park.

Aston Villa overcame 10-man Brighton 2-1, courtesy of a late effort from Matt Targett, who had been picked out by the excellent Jack Grealish, while Bournemouth shared the points with struggling Norwich City and Raul Jimenez's penalty earned Wolves a point against Southampton.

In the early kick-off, Everton claimed a much-needed 2-0 victory over West Ham at Goodison Park to hand under-pressure Marco Silva a lifeline.

WATFORD MIX-UP RELIEVES THE PRESSURE ON POCHETTINO

It looked to be going from bad to worse for Spurs, who fell behind early on at home when Abdoulaye Doucoure swept home from Daryl Janmaat's cross to increase the pressure on boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham dominated throughout, though Watford will point to what appeared to be a valid penalty appeal which was turned down by both the referee and VAR after Jan Vertonghen had slid into Gerard Deulofeu.

Foster made a terrific save to tip Son Heung-min's strike onto the crossbar early in the second half, but confusion between Watford's goalkeeper and Femenia ensured Alli salvaged a point.

Having raced out to claim a cross, Foster appeared to hesitate, only managing to bundle into Femenia, who headed directly to Alli, who lashed in from a tight angle - VAR confirming the goal.

CHELSEA AND LEICESTER INTO THE TOP FOUR

The Blues are hitting their stride under Lampard, though they looked set to be frustrated by Newcastle until Marcos Alonso's second-half winner.

With Tammy Abraham and Willian having squandered great chances, Newcastle's resolve was broken when their goalkeeper Martin Dubravka failed to keep hold of Alonso's strike.

Chelsea are level on points with Leicester, who bounced back from their defeat at Anfield last time out with a hard-fought victory over Burnley.

The Foxes restored parity through Vardy - who cancelled out Chris Wood's opener - before Tielemans hammered home with 16 minutes remaining. The Clarets thought they had snatched a draw late on, only for Jonny Evans' own goal to be contentiously disallowed.

CITY CLOSE THE GAP

Liverpool's lead at the top has, temporarily at least, been reduced to five points as City eased to a 2-0 win over Palace through goals from Gabriel Jesus and David Silva.

With Nicolas Otamendi injured and John Stones deemed not ready to start, Pep Guardiola opted to go with Rodri and Fernandinho at the back, though Palace could not test the makeshift pairing before Jesus headed City in front.

Silva added another with a sublime volley before the break, with City going for the jugular in the second half – though they were denied a penalty, Kevin De Bruyne hit the post and Raheem Sterling missed a golden chance to wrap up the points.

Ederson was called into action twice late on, but City were not made to pay for their profligacy as they returned to winning ways and edged closer to Liverpool, who face Manchester United on Sunday.

SILVA EASES THE PRESSURE

Everton entered Saturday's early match on the back of four successive league defeats, but the Toffees handed Silva a boost with a dominant display against West Ham - Bernard putting them ahead with a cute finish after some sublime footwork got him through a crowd of defenders.

Silva's side could easily have extended their lead, with Richarlison and Theo Walcott hitting the post and crossbar respectively while Everton also had two goals disallowed.

West Ham might have snatched an unlikely point if not for Jordan Pickford's save from Angelo Ogbonna's close-range effort, but the points were wrapped up when Gylfi Sigurdsson arrowed in his first league goal of the season in stoppage time as Everton ended their dismal run.

Prior to the home game against Watford, Mauricio Pochettino had pointed to a dinner invite from his Tottenham players as an indication of their continued support.

The offer was less about attending his last supper and instead a sign they remained strong as a unit, determined to turn around a campaign that had started unravelling rapidly prior to the international break, according to the defiant Spurs boss.

Against the Hornets, there was certainly no sign of a lack of effort from the team. The problem was more to do with the lack of a cutting edge, culminating in a 1-1 draw that stops the rot but offers little in the way of long-term optimism.

The fixture list had seemingly served up an appetising offer for Spurs to move on quickly from back-to-back defeats earlier in the month, too. If the 7-2 result against Bayern Munich in the Champions League was a shock to the system, going down 3-0 at Brighton and Hove Albion was tough to digest. They were better on Saturday, admittedly, but then that was hardly a tough bar to clear.

Watford arrived bottom of the table and without a win to their name. On six previous Premier League trips to Spurs – albeit at differing venues from their opponents' impressive new home – they had failed to collect a solitary point.

Yet had it not been for a late mix-up between goalkeeper Ben Foster and substitute Kiko Femenia, the visitors may well have departed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with all three.

Dele Alli capitalised on the gift to deliver a much-needed equaliser for Spurs. The goal was subsequently checked for handball, with VAR ruling the contact was high on his chest, rather than left arm. Even then there was further drama, the big screen displaying 'Decision No Goal' while the score read 1-1.

The confusion over their goal rather summed up Spurs' performance, though. They seemingly have all the required ingredients - remember they sprinkled in some new faces during the transfer window - but cannot quite find the recipe for success, particularly in attack.

Pochettino made seven changes to the starting XI – the most for the club between two Premier League games in a season – but saw the new-look line-up concede early, as was also the case against Brighton, in a listless first half.

Son Heung-min's half-time introduction added some much-needed life to proceedings, though they still required a helping hand – albeit not Alli's, according to VAR – for the equaliser.

Worryingly, Harry Kane had just 28 total touches in a game where his team enjoyed 69.6 per cent of possession. There were no shots on target either, as was also the case on that forgettable trip to the south coast a fortnight ago.

Goals are missing from the menu for Kane and Spurs in general - they have averaged one a game in their last six outings in all competition, and that includes an EFL Cup tie against League Two Colchester United.

"We're not panicking. We know the quality that we’ve got in this team, we believe in ourselves and the coaching staff are working hard every day. We’ve just got to make sure we show our character to get out of this patch we're in," Alli said to the club's website.

Spurs' determination to keep going against Watford suggests Pochettino was right to declare his squad remain firmly behind him.

Dinner may be a little more appetising for the Tottenham boss on Saturday night having avoided another embarrassing defeat, but a point against the competition's bottom side is still tough to stomach.

Dele Alli has backed "world class" Tottenham to turn around their struggling season after a disappointing 1-1 draw against Watford on Saturday.

Spurs needed a dramatic 86th-minute equaliser from midfielder Alli to scrape a point against the Premier League's bottom side.

With just one win in six games in all competitions the result placed extra scrutiny on Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino.

But England international Alli, on his first start of the campaign, believes it is only a matter of time before Spurs rediscover their best form.

"We know we have a world-class team," Alli said. 

"So it's about showing what we can do when things don't go our way.

"We made it difficult for ourselves against Watford. We controlled the game and bossed possession.

"It's important we turn it around. We know how good we are, we just have to start showing it on the pitch.

"It was my first start and great to be back in the team but overall a disappointing result."

There was a brief moment of confusion when Alli's late leveller was checked by the Video Assistant Referee.

The goal was confirmed as legitimate by VAR, but the giant screen in the ground put a message which said 'no goal'. 

Referee Chris Kavanagh clarified the decision via his earpiece before he told Watford to kick-off.

"Of course, it was a relief," added 23-year-old Alli.

"There were two times the referee stopped it when he was making the decisions. We weren't sure why.

"I was sure it didn't hit my hand but then you start thinking did it? I tried to make sure it didn't touch it so I could get the strike away."

Watford had opened the scoring early in the game when Abdoulaye Doucoure crisply slotted the ball home from Daryl Janmaat's low cross.

The French midfielder was disappointed Watford were unable to hold on to claim their first league win of the season and urged his team-mates to be more clinical in front of goal.

"If you don't score the second one you are always under pressure to not concede," Doucoure said.

"We had a lot of chances against a top-six team. You know you can always concede one goal so we need to move on from this.

"We need to be more clinical in the last part of the pitch, especially when you go away to a top team but we are happy with a point."

Tottenham were rescued by a late equaliser as Dele Alli salvaged a 1-1 draw at home to the Premier League's bottom club Watford. 

Having gone into the international break on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, which followed on from their 7-2 capitulation to Bayern Munich, Spurs looked set to become the first team to lose to Watford in the league this term until a mix-up between Ben Foster and Kiko Femenia presented Alli with the chance to sweep in a late equaliser.

Chelsea claimed a fifth successive win in all competitions by beating Newcastle United 1-0 as Frank Lampard's side temporarily moved up to third, a place behind Leicester City, who came from behind to beat Burnley 2-1 thanks to goals from Jamie Vardy and Youri Tielemans. 

Aston Villa overcame 10-man Brighton 2-1, courtesy of a late effort from Matt Targett, who had been picked out by the excellent Jack Grealish, while Bournemouth shared the points with struggling Norwich City and Raul Jimenez's penalty earned Wolves a point against Southampton.

In the early kick-off, Everton claimed a much-needed 2-0 victory over West Ham at Goodison Park to hand under-pressure Marco Silva a lifeline.

WATFORD MIX UP RELIEVES THE PRESSURE ON POCHETTINO

It looked to be going from bad to worse for Spurs, who fell behind early on at home when Abdoulaye Doucoure swept home from Daryl Janmaat's cross to increase the pressure on boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham dominated throughout, though Watford will point to what appeared to be a valid penalty appeal which was turned down by both the referee and VAR after Jan Vertonghen had slid into Gerard Deulofeu.

Foster made a terrific save to tip Son Heung-min's strike onto the crossbar early in the second half, but confusion between Watford's goalkeeper and Femenia ensured Alli salvaged a point.

Having raced out to claim a cross, Foster appeared to hesitate, only managing to bundle into Femenia, who headed directly to Alli, who lashed in from a tight angle - VAR confirming the goal.

CHELSEA AND LEICESTER INTO THE TOP THREE

The Blues are hitting their stride under Lampard, though they looked set to be frustrated by Newcastle until Marcos Alonso's second-half winner.

With Tammy Abraham and Willian having squandered great chances, Newcastle's resolve was broken when their goalkeeper Martin Dubravka failed to keep hold of Alonso's strike.

Chelsea are level on points with Leicester, who bounced back from their defeat at Anfield last time out with a hard-fought victory over Burnley.

The Foxes restored parity through Vardy - who cancelled out Chris Wood's opener - before Tielemans hammered home with 16 minutes remaining. The Clarets thought they had snatched a draw late on, only for Jonny Evans' own goal to be contentiously disallowed.

SILVA EASES THE PRESSURE

Everton entered Saturday's early match on the back of four successive league defeats, but the Toffees handed Silva a boost with a dominant display against West Ham - Bernard putting them ahead with a cute finish after some sublime footwork got him through a crowd of defenders.

Silva's side could easily have extended their lead, with Richarlison and Theo Walcott hitting the post and crossbar respectively while Everton also had two goals disallowed.

West Ham might have snatched an unlikely point if not for Jordan Pickford's save from Angelo Ogbonna's close-range effort, but the points were wrapped up when Gylfi Sigurdsson arrowed in his first league goal of the season in stoppage time as Everton ended their dismal run.

Dele Alli rescued a point for Tottenham with a late goal as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by rock-bottom Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.

Abdoulaye Doucoure had opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a crisp finish that looked to have given the Hornets the points.

But Spurs midfielder Alli, on his first league start of the season, capitalised on Ben Foster's failure to punch the ball away four minutes from full-time and squeezed home from a tight angle.

The goal was checked by VAR and despite the confusion of a 'no goal' message appearing on the big screen it was deemed a legitimate strike.

The result will do little to ease the pressure on coach Mauricio Pochettino, however.

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino is backing Harry Kane to step in as a 'natural leader' at the North London club in the absence of captain Huge Lloris.

Lloris, who also leads the France national team, suffered an arm injury a fortnight ago against Brighton and is expected to be sidelined until the new year.

Spurs have had a difficult month, having been eliminated by Colchester United in the League Cup, before heavy defeats to Bayern Munich in Europe and the Seagulls before the international break.

But Pochettino is backing Kane, who has captained England for the past two years, to step in and fill the void left by Lloris seamlessly.

"He does not need to feel too much pressure. The most important thing is to not show too much responsibility on your shoulders and to act natural," he said.

"The problem is if you need to act. If you are not a real leader and you need to act, you spend energy thinking 'how do I need to face this problem?'

"But if you trust in yourself and you are a natural leader, then I promise you don't feel the responsibility."

Spurs host Watford on Saturday afternoon as they look to improve a recent run of just one win in six games in all competitions.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino played down reports of unrest at Spurs, highlighting his invitation to a team dinner.

Pochettino's future has come into question following Tottenham's poor start to the season following their memorable run to the 2018-19 Champions League final.

There has been speculation that Tottenham players are unhappy with Pochettino's methods after just three wins from eight Premier League matches this term.

Spurs were also humiliated 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, while the club were stunned by League Two outfit Colchester United in the EFL Cup.

However, Pochettino said a dinner invitation from his players shows they are still behind him in London.

"When last week, you receive a text from the player inviting you and the coaching staff for a dinner only two things can happen," Pochettino said.

"Because they want to say goodbye. Or because they feel that they love you and they want to show that they are with you.

"And I think it's the second. They are not about to say goodbye to me. To say goodbye to me, say goodbye here. Not inviting me to dinner."

Tottenham host Watford on Saturday, with Spurs languishing in ninth position and 13 points off the pace.

Despite Tottenham's struggles and uncertainty over soon-to-be free agent Christian Eriksen, Pochettino is not expecting many departures or arrivals in January.

"I never was keen on January and I will not change now because it is a tough period or tough few games, I'm not going to change the way I think or see things," he said.

"We are not going to force anything because we believe the squad is a decent squad. Now we need to be strong our decision was right, because we are suffering a storm now we cannot now change quick.

"Now it's the time to be responsible. First me and then the players, everyone. My opinion, the way I love to work, is that when you take decisions in the summer and then you need to be responsible and then you need to find the way to make that work.

"For me, that's it. I am not talking about January with anyone. I told the players, for me, January is too far away. Because they know me, after five and a half years, that all the rumours and all the opinion, of course we need to respect all and we respect all, but what is going to happen sometimes is the complete opposite that people are saying."

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has been the best coach in the Premier League over the past four years, according to Watford counterpart Quique Sanchez Flores.

A run of three wins in Tottenham's opening 11 games of the campaign has led to questions being asked of Pochettino's future, just four months after guiding the club to the Champions League final.

Spurs suffered heavy defeats to Bayern Munich and Brighton and Hove Albion prior to the international break and return to action with a home match against Watford on Saturday.

Watford head coach Flores knows Pochettino well from their time playing in LaLiga and holds the Argentinian in high regard, claiming that he has outperformed the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp in recent times.

"I love him. He is the best coach in the Premier League in the last four years, in my opinion," Flores said at Thursday's pre-match news conference.

"When I was last at Watford I thought he was the best coach in the way he moved the team and the way the team played.

"Of course now it is a difficult moment for him and for the team, but for me he is the best coach in the last four years in the Premier League."

Tottenham have lost more games in all competitions in 2019 than any other Premier League side and are ninth in the top flight after eight games of the 2019-20 campaign.

Asked if he expects Pochettino to stay in charge of Tottenham for the long term, Sanchez added: "It is up to you, the critics, not me. It depends on the results. The results bring in the critics."

Mauricio Pochettino hailed stand-in Tottenham captain Harry Kane as a "natural leader" as he reflected on the England skipper's response to the racism row in Bulgaria.

Kane will take the Spurs armband in the absence of injured goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the coming months, while he is also England's captain.

The striker's role with the Three Lions put him at the forefront of the controversial Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia on Monday, which was twice stopped due to racist abuse from the crowd.

Kane stood by his team-mates as they followed UEFA's protocol and ultimately saw out a 6-0 win, later describing his pride at the way England players had acted in testing circumstances.

Pochettino, discussing Kane's more prominent Tottenham role on Thursday, said: "He's become a natural leader. He's great.

"His commitment, not only for Tottenham but the national team, is fantastic for England and Tottenham. We will miss Hugo for a few months and to have Harry to step up is important, like others who are important and mature.

"They will step up and handle problems when they happen like this. It's good to see how he behaved and of course he showed great maturity."

Asked specifically about the Bulgaria match, the Spurs boss added: "I'm going to respect players always. The way Harry behaved was top.

"The way he handled the situation on Monday was exemplary. He showed calm, followed the rules. We're so proud of how he behaved.

"But of course, when you're on the touchline, you need to understand the players always have rights and it's difficult to be in their position, know how they feel when they suffer abuse like this. That's why I will always support my players.

"Harry handled everything perfectly, I want to congratulate him. He was calm, the situation was always under control. He showed great maturity in these situations which are not always easy to manage."

As well as missing Lloris, Tottenham are waiting for news on star midfielder Christian Eriksen, who suffered a dead leg on international duty with Denmark.

Mauricio Pochettino's spirits were lifted during the international break, having felt "dead" after Tottenham's defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.

A difficult season for Spurs plunged new depths when they followed up a 7-2 humiliation at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on October 1 by losing 3-0 at Brighton in the Premier League four days later.

Pochettino was downbeat at the start of the international break, during which he travelled to the Aspire Global Summit in Qatar and addressed several ex-professionals.

But ahead of hosting Watford on Saturday, the former Southampton boss was able to consider a more positive outlook.

"We had an offer a few months ago to go to Aspire," he told a news conference. "I was talking there for one and a half hours, in front of 100 people, 50 clubs.

"All the big clubs in the world were there, ex-team-mates like [Santiago] Solari, Hernan Crespo, people I met like Tim Cahill - now I have a very good view of him, it was amazing to spend time with him.

"It was like a medicine. We flew at 8am on Sunday [after Brighton on the Saturday] and I was dead. Jesus [Perez, his assistant], too.

"We arrived and it was difficult to find the energy and then to talk about Tottenham and our ideas and philosophy and football. It was most difficult thing, but we found the energy.

"It was a football drama, not a life drama. We lose a few games. Most important is to not go away, most important is to face the problems and find a solution."

Despite a poor run that has left Tottenham ninth, Pochettino insists his faith in his players is unwavering.

"In this type of situation, the most important thing is to be all together and show a strong face to the problems," he said.

"Face the problems and talk a lot because the most important thing is that players feel support and trust from the manager. That belief is important.

"I trust 200 per cent in them and believe that they have the capacity and potential to win the games and turn this situation around. This type of situation happens at all clubs sooner or later.

"We have confidence that we have the quality. It is only a matter of time to make things clear. We need to help them perform because they are the principal actors on the pitch who will provide the victories."

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