Mauricio Pochettino has NASA on stand-by as he threatens Spurs players with a rocket if they flop against Liverpool
MAURICIO POCHETTINO is threatening his Tottenham idlers with a rocket if they fail to spark against Liverpool.
Boss Pochettino remains in a state of shock at the half-hearted approach by his players in their last Premier League match – a surprise 2-1 defeat at Watford.
League leaders Liverpool will provide a huge test of Tottenham’s durability and credentials as title contenders at Wembley and pumped up Pochettino has vowed to go all the way to NASA if his players don’t turn up again.
Pochettino said: “If Saturday we play in the same way, rather than take off players, I will be on the phone to say ‘Houston, we have a problem.’
“Come on. If, against Liverpool at Wembley, you do not have the desire and the focus to play…it is not about playing well, it is about attitude and to say ‘Hey, come on, we are aggressive and we try to win’.
“If you watch the Watford game again, you see we played so slow, so sloppy, from the beginning.
“It was like we thought ‘OK, it is a nice afternoon in Watford and Elton John is in the stands.’ It was like going to Hyde Park with my kid.
“I am not being aggressive, I am being funny because I told the players and they agreed. It does not mean we are going to kill someone.
“To win games, we need to be focused for 95 minutes. If not, you always pay in football. if you are disrespectful, you pay. If you do not pay today, you pay tomorrow.
“That is what is so important in football. When the opponent is below you, sometimes people can get confused. To respect an opponent is to score once, twice, three, four, five, ten goals.
“To not show respect is to think it is a poor team, play so slow, with 2-0 or 3-0 is enough, then waiting for the end of the game.
“To show respect for the opponent is to go and kill with every single action. That is the way you show it. You need to be aggressive. That is how I understand football.”
Whether or not Tottenham’s players have taken in Pochettino’s bizarre outburst and run Saturn’s rings around Liverpool will only emerge after kick off.
But they need to rediscover the hunger which saw them humiliate Manchester United at Old Trafford immediately before crumbling at Vicarage Road.
Pochettino said: “It’s not right to be focused and right in one game and then the job is done, in football the energy is ten months. You need to be ready and it’s tough, yes.
“But in our contract and our salary that is why the club pay us because we need to be consistent in ten months. It’s not one week and another week. It’s difficult to compete if you are not consistent.
“If we review our press conference before Manchester United, it was like ‘It’s a step up, to show whether we were capable to win at Old Trafford, we are going to be a contender, we are going to show the credentials’.
“But after we won at Old Trafford, we lost at Watford. And we were bad. The most important is every game, you need to treat like a final and show respect.
“After Manchester United, all the signals from the team were that we were going to crash. Because when we finish the game after 3-0, in some circumstances, we cannot talk about winning the Premier League.
“You need to respect and you need to show you are a contender – come here on Wednesday and ask for more training, and ask for more training and play and show, and not play in the first 45 minutes at Watford like a testimonial game.
“Now to win against Liverpool can change the mood and change the perception and everything but still if you win, after that we must win against Brighton. Because you need to be consistent.”
Today’s game pits two Golden Boot winners against each other in last season’s Premier League top scorer Mo Salah and World Cup marksman Harry Kane.
Pochettino said: “One is more a player that plays on the side but now is a little bit playing inside but he’s a winger.
“They are different in the way that they play and how they act on the pitch. But I think both are very good players.”
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