Mauricio Pochettino feels Tottenham’s unsettled squad is contributing to a below-par start to the 2019-20 season.
Spurs crashed out of the EFL Cup at the first hurdle on Tuesday, exiting 4-3 on penalties at League Two side Colchester United.
They have not won away from home in the Premier League since January and sit seventh in the table, level on points with Burnley and Sheffield United, after a 2-1 loss at Leicester City last time out.
Spurs also threw away a two-goal lead to draw at Olympiacos in the Champions League this month, with Pochettino appearing increasingly frustrated.
Star midfielder Christian Eriksen’s contract expires in 2020 and the Denmark international, who missed a penalty in the shoot-out, has been open about his desire to move on from the Champions League runners-up.
Defensive duo Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are also in the final year of their Spurs deals and Pochettino believes uncertainty within the squad is affecting results.
Asked why Spurs are struggling, he told a news conference: “I think we talked a lot [about transfer speculation] in pre-season.
“We have experience in football and it’s so important the feelings were how I explained in pre-season but now it’s not about what I said in pre-season. It’s about that we knew or I knew it would be a tough situation.
“When you have an unsettled squad always it’s difficult and you lose time and then you need time to recover the time you lose. That’s where we are.
“Maybe our performances are good but you need this extra, which is mental, connection, it’s energy to be all together, not to have different agendas in the squad. We need time again to build that togetherness that you need when you are competing at this level.”
1 – Colchester United have become the first lower league team to progress from two penalty shootouts against Premier League sides within the same League Cup campaign since Bradford in 2012-13 – the year the Bantams went on to reach the final. Destiny? pic.twitter.com/qYMSneXO2f
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 24, 2019
With the transfer window closed until January, Spurs are likely to face continued uncertainty over Eriksen, Alderweireld and Vertonghen.
“Look, I am only telling you [the media] how I feel,” Pochettino added. “We are working so hard to try and get on the same page. We need time, we are going to have time to fix that.
“January is going to be a good opportunity to try and fix this type of situation and sort it. Then the next transfer window, again. That’s the problem when something happens and you cannot control – this type of situation can arrive.
“I’m more than happy to be in that situation, it means we are human. To keep the successful period in football you need to be different every single season and act differently and find a different solution.
“Maybe we need to do something different and we are trying to find the way to start to perform and get the results we expect.”
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