Mauricio Pochettino has responded to rumours of rifts at Tottenham after his side routed Red Star Belgrade 5-0 in the Champions League.
Tottenhamprovided theperfect responseto their last Champions League outing – the 7-2 humbling by Bayern Munich – with Harry Kane and Heung-min Son scoring two each while Erik Lamela was also on target.
The home humiliation at the hands of group leaders Bayern was followed by an embarrassing 3-0 defeat toBrighton, and reports followed of discontent in the Tottenham camp, with players reportedly not happy at some of Pochettino’s methods.
But the manager says his Tottenham players now have “happy faces” following the win over Red Star which moved them up to second in Group B with four points from three games.
AndPochettinoconfirmed he has given his squad a day off as reward for getting their Champions League campaign back on track.
“You cannot stop the rumours,” said Pochettino in quotes reported by theIndependent.
“You know that periods like this can happen for any team and what is important is to stick together and try to find a way.
“There was a dynamic change after the final of the Champions League. It is difficult to explain, but you have to avoid a drama and it is important to be there and strong in your principles.
“The most important is to show that we are together. If we don’t win, it is because we are not performing. Not because some stupid thing happened inside.
“When you win or you lose, always there are things there with 25 or 26 players. Eleven players are always happy, another seven are close and they are happy. The 10 that are outside are not happy. This is the world.”
With Tottenham looking back to their best on Tuesday, Pochettino put his team’s slow start to the season down to a later pre-season start due to Spurs reaching the Champions League final last term and to international call-ups.
“My theory is we started late in our preparation,” he said.
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“Always you use pre-season to set principles on the team, but the circumstances around the group meant we started late in our preparations. During the competition, it is so difficult and tough to start because the competition does not wait for you.
“It’s a massive experience for us as a group that has never lived this type of situation before. This type of situation should help us to get stronger.
“Now we have some happy faces in the dressing room and I told the players they have a day off tomorrow, so they are smiling even more now.”