Spurs fans were like kids on Christmas Eve, players talk, has there been messages on WhatsApp groups about the prospect of him coming back?
No, nothing in the WhatsApp group. There is a lot of speculation and nowadays it is impossible not to see it but it is not really for me to speculate on.
When a player of that stature walks into the dressing room, how much of a lift could that give?
He is still in the Real Madrid dressing room. I really can’t talk about a player from another team. It has got nothing to do with me.
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How has the squad responded to the criticism from Sunday’s game?
We were very unhappy. It is normal, we want to win every game, we go into every game to try and win so when we don’t, I don’t think anyone is more unhappy than ourselves. I don’t think there is anyone outside of this group that is more unhappy than we are when we do lose. We are going to look to have an immediate reaction and try to move on, we have got a lot of games, we have got no time to dwell on it. We are focused on tomorrow and the really busy schedule we have got.
In terms of the Euros and of player welfare how concerned are you about the number of games?
The Euros is a long way away. Football things happen very quickly, things change so there is no point looking too far ahead. I am really focused on the next game. In terms of our schedule, from a welfare point of view there is no care for the players’ welfare.
How difficult is it to ignore the speculation around you?
I am sure from the fans’ point of view when you are linked to a player of that level it is exciting for any club. For me personally it doesn’t really affect me in any way. It is not the first time and it won’t be the last time, there is constantly speculation about different people going different places. Every day people are trying to fill the newspapers and websites. It doesn’t really affect me in any way, I am used to it.
How have players responded to manager’s criticism?
We are men, not kids, the manager isn’t making those comments to affect us in a negative way, he is just giving his assessment of how he felt the game went. We have to accept that and take that on board and try and change. As players we are all very self-critical of ourselves and our performances and I don’t think anyone will be more than ourselves.
We have to be honest with ourselves, everyone was very disappointed with the result and our performance. With the schedule we have to get over it quickly and move on and that is what we are going to do. The most important thing is how we react. If you want to be competitive and a big club it is all about how you react after poor performances and results.
You’re mates with Dele, how is he? Jose said you were taken off at half-time and reacted in the right way? What is like for that to happen and how is Dele.
He took me off after 30 minutes, it’s even worse.Deleis fine. My answer is the same, we’re big boys. Football is not a nice world, it is about results and performances. Dele is not the first person to be taken off at half-time and I don’t think it’s the first time he has been taken off at half-time and it won’t be the last it is the same for all of us. That is a thing that can happen in football. If you want to be a big player it’s how you react and move forward with it and knowing Dele and his mentality he will take it in that way and work even harder and try and push on from there.
Do you feel you need to see different faces in the dressing room?
I disagree to be honest. Since I have been back for pre-season I feel like there is a lot of new blood in the dressing room.Steven Bergwijnhas been here six months, Gedson Fernandes six months, Pierre has just arrived, Matt has just arrived. I already feel it is a different dressing room to the one I arrived in when I first arrived. I think there are only Hugo and Harry left from that group. Jan and Michel leaving, there were kind of the last ones of that group. I already feel like there is a very different dynamic than last season.
Does the speculation give an extra buzz to the dressing room when you’re trying to lift yourself?
The dressing room isn’t in a bad place. We’ve had one game so it’s not in a bad place. Pre-season was in difficult circumstances, circumstances that were new for everyone involved in it.
However, the mood has been very positive. I’m still very excited for the season and extremely upbeat about the season we’re going to have.
Obviously we didn’t start in the way we wanted to or envisioned, but we still feel we’re in a very good place and we’ve got an extremely busy schedule for this month.
So it’s all about just trying to be in the best position and take every game as it comes and we’re focused purely on tomorrow’s game which is a huge game for us and that’s where all our focus is and has to be because we need a good result.
When you speak about player welfare with the pile-up of fixtures, do you feel you will come out of it with injuries in the squad?
No, I don’t mean how we’re going to fare with it. I think the depth of our squad is the strongest I think it’s been in my time at Tottenham. If you look at the players who were on the bench and the players who weren’t even in the squad on Sunday.
I think there’s fantastic depth and fantastic quality throughout the squad and the manager has emphasised that if we want to be successful and win games and go far, it’s all about the squad and that squad performing.
It’s just if you look at that schedule, that schedule isn’t showing any care for players’ physical welfare. It’s common sense really, trying to ask someone to play Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday. It doesn’t seem like there is any care for players’ welfare in that situation.
One of the new players is Joe Hart…
Sorry I missed Joe when I was saying those players. He’s not going to be happy.
Could it really happen? Could Gareth Bale return to Tottenham?
It could happen Tottenham fans,football.londonsources say the club are exploring a loan deal with Real Madrid.
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What impression has he made on the dressing room?
He’s been fantastic. He’s obviously someone I knew beforehand but the energy he brings into the building is fantastic, his work ethic, obviously his experience. He’s had a fantastic career, won many trophies and played in the biggest games.
At the same time though he stayed out there after training just now, saving ten people’s penalties and five people’s free-kicks. That just shows you the type of professional he is and his willingness to help the team in any way.
That’s so important and a fantastic quality, especially with the career he’s had, to still be doing those things and willing to make those sacrifices. He’s a fantastic person off the pitch and brings fantastic energy on it and off it. I’m sure he’s going to be great for us.
Did he save a penalty from you?
Yeah, he did actually. One….in four.