Mauricio Pochettino has demanded his players must go for the ‘kill’ against Liverpool after blasting Tottenham’s ‘testimonial’ performance in the defeat at Watford.
Having seen his side demolish Manchester United 3-0 with Harry Kane on target, Pochettino was exasperated when Spurs then gave away a one-goal lead to lose 2-1 at Watford before the international break.
‘It was a massive wake-up call for us,’ Pochettino said. ‘The first half looked like a testimonial game. It’s about mentality, not tactics.
‘The mentality is to beat United at Old Trafford and then go to Watford and show the same capacity. Maybe we missed that. If we play in the same way (against Liverpool), I will be on the phone to say, “Houston, we have a problem!”
‘If, against Liverpool at Wembley, you do not have the desire and the focus to play… it is about attitude and to say, “Hey, come on, we are aggressive and we try to win”.
‘If you watch the Watford game, you see we played so slow, so sloppy. It was like we thought, “OK, it is a nice afternoon in Watford, Elton John is in the stands…” Like going to Hyde Park with my child.
‘To win games, we need to be focused for 95 minutes. If you are disrespectful, you pay.
‘When the opponent is below you, sometimes people get confused. To respect the opponent is to score one, two, three, four, five, 10 goals.
‘To not show respect is to think, “It is a poor team, we can play so slow, 2-0 or 3-0 is enough” and then waiting for the end of the game.
‘We must go and kill with every single action. Be aggressive. That is how I understand football.’
Pochettino is without injured pair Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris, but is boosted by the return from international duty of Son Heung-min, and midfielder Harry Winks is also ready to start matches.
Winks, 22, has not started a game since February after suffering an ankle injury that culminated in surgery in May.
Pochettino, who previously compared Winks, 22, to Andres Iniesta, said: ‘When we talk about midfielders, you like to use Spanish midfielders like Xavi and Iniesta. He’s like this type of player, this capacity, but he needs a lot of work.
‘He has the potential but now it is up to him. In his mind he is capable to learn about suffering, that there never is enough training, always try to be better.
‘Football is his focus, not business around football. Maybe (if he learns this) he will be one of the best midfielders in England. It is not my advice, it is only how I describe the reality. If he wants to take it, take it.’