Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino: Players should play for club, not a manager
Mauricio Pochettino says his players can be confident that he will be staying at Tottenham when they are deciding their own futures -- but he believes they should be devoting themselves to the club rather than him.
Dele Alli, who signed a new six-year contract this week, has stated that Spurs' manager was "a massive part of wanting to be at this club."
Pochettino, who has stressed that he can achieve his ambitions in north London amid links with Real Madrid, was flattered to hear that but has told his players they should not be motivated primarily by their relationship with their manager.
"They are confident [in me staying], yes of course," he said. "But it's not that they are attached to me only. It's about the club, it's about many things.
"If I believe Dele or a different player is only going to sign a contract because of me, it's a bad feeling or I am so wrong in my head. You need to play for something bigger than a person.
"Of course it's nice to hear the player say one of the reasons is the manager or the chairman, or the new stadium is so exciting. But rather than hearing that, I want to hear 'I want to play for Tottenham, to make history, to touch the glory with this badge.'
"If not, it's so difficult -- 'now I am happy with my manager and I'm going to give my best', but there are days when we will not be happy because we are human.
"Some days maybe we will be disappointed [with each other], which is normal in a relationship. Will he not play then because he is not happy with the manager? You need to have something that's more important that motivates you."
For Pochettino, the rumours of interest from Real Madrid should engender feelings of pride among Tottenham's supporters, rather than fear and insecurity.
"It's like our girlfriend or wife," he said. "We're so handsome and you're like this, walking down Oxford Street or Regent's Street [holding hands], and she is so proud about you because another woman is looking at you.
"Your wife, rather than being worried, is so happy to be with you and is in love with you. But if it's the opposite, if no-one looks at you, your wife says 'maybe it's better with another guy'. Understand the metaphor?"
The January transfer window is now two months away, and Pochettino said recently that he would like to bring in new recruits.
He has now stated though that the need for reinforcements and the likelihood of success in making the right moves will be assessed nearer the time.
"We're talking about theory and then the practice is difficult, and we need to be careful how we manage January," he said. "It's not an easy window where you can do many things and not affect the dynamic of the team and the group.
"If you're doing well and you arrive in January, no-one is going to change too much. But the teams that are not so good, they change maybe 10 players -- 10 out, 10 in -- because they need to spark or change the dynamic.
"Always we need to know what happens when we arrive. Are we going to have the possibility to fix problems or not, or are we going to keep going in the same way? That is going to manage your decision."