Mauricio Pochettino is determined to rid Tottenham of the negativity that too often surrounds the club as they continue to fight on four fronts this season.
Spurs booked their place in the EFL Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 win over north London rivals Arsenal on Wednesday, the result coming a week after a 1-1 draw away in Barcelona sent them through to the last 16 of the Champions League.
Tottenham also sit third in the Premier League, yet Pochettino knows it only takes one bad result for the feelings towards his team to change, particularly as they opted not to make a signing in the previous transfer window and have not lifted a trophy since 2008.
The former Southampton boss pointed to the addition of goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga as an example of how perceptions can be changed over time.
Signed in August 2017 and viewed immediately by many to be more than third choice behind Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm, the 26-year-old showed his value against Arsenal by keeping a clean sheet at the Emirates.
“If we don’t sign in January, people say we are going to struggle – it’s all negative. Rather than say, ‘Tottenham didn’t sign anyone is because they believe they have the tools to maybe challenge for the title’. It’s always negative,” Pochettino told the media.
“The doubt is always negative, never positive and that’s because of the history. Because of what happened in the past. We need to fight with this perception and to be proud of the team.
“Look at the case of when we signed Paulo Gazzaniga, people criticise, ‘Oh, he signed the third keeper’.
“We signed Paulo one and a half years ago from Southampton and the perception was, ‘Oh, we cannot announce the player because it looks like we don’t have ambition. If we present the player from Southampton, the club don’t have ambition’.
“It’s so poor, no? It’s so bad. It’s a shame, because after one and a half years, Paulo kept a clean sheet in the derby against Arsenal for the first time at the Emirates and he was fantastic.
“But because always the doubt is negative, sometimes we cannot behave with freedom and we need freedom. Of course, read the media, listen to the fans, but in the end we need to feel free to take the decision.”
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