Mauricio Pochettino insisted he is not looking beyond Tottenham’s trip to Huddersfield Town despite a Champions League clash with Barcelona four days later.
The Spurs coach said failure to beat Huddersfield would prompt a “storm” of criticism, referring to the media response to Tottenham’s run of three consecutive defeats to Watford, Liverpool and Inter in September.
Having seen his side bounce back from that run with a win over Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League and a penalty shoot-out victory over Watford in the EFL Cup, Pochettino made it clear he would not allow standards to slip.
Asked whether the Barca game would take precedence over Huddersfield, he told reporters: “No, no, no, no. For us, we always take the game we have ahead and try to take the best decision to win.
“When you are at Tottenham you must win. [Against] Watford, Liverpool, Inter we lost and there was a lot of criticism like it was the end of the world. You cannot afford to say, ‘No, I’m not going to compete in this game,’ because you know if you don’t win, the tsunami or storm is going to come. That is the truth.
“That is why always when we talk about the squad, it’s because we need a strong squad available, 24, 25 players and younger ones in behind helping the first team when you need then.
“Because during the whole season you need the whole squad, not only a few players who are available always to play.”
Hugo Lloris (thigh): continuing on-field conditioning, unavailable. @Vorm_Official (knee): continuing rehab, unavailable. @ChrisEriksen8 (abdomen): undergoing rehab, unavailable. @Serge_Aurier (thigh): injury sustained last night, undergoing assessment. #COYS pic.twitter.com/foTCDwwN0m
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 27, 2018
Pochettino will be without a number of players for the trip to Yorkshire, following injuries to Serge Aurier and Christian Eriksen.
Aurier sustained a thigh problem against Watford while Eriksen injured his abdomen at Brighton, and Pochettino is likely to keep faith with Paulo Gazzaniga for a third straight match as goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm recover from respective thigh and knee complaints.
He said: “It’s so important to have goalkeepers who can play and perform, like Paulo. It’s so tough to be a goalkeeper and have to wait for your opportunity.
“It’s not like an [outfield] player in different positions who play five minutes, 10 minutes, half an hour.
“The position is so special and so different, and so it is tough waiting for your opportunity.”