Mauricio Pochettino is confident his Tottenham players will avoid the damaging mistake of becoming distracted by speculation about his future.
With sources telling ESPN FC that Pochettino is United’s top choice to become their next permanent manager in the summer, the rumours are set to continue for the rest of the season. But the Argentinian believes his squad are used to ignoring conjecture.
“It’s like some rumours about some players, no? It’s nice for everyone because it means they are doing a good job,” said Pochettino. “It’s not a problem and they’re not going to lose their focus.
“If that’s true, that the players or coaching staff are going to lose their focus, this club is maybe going to the bottom.
“Today that’s not how we are, because from day one that I signed here, every day some rumours arrive — players in, players out, signings, players that move to different clubs, coaching staff moving to a different club. I think Tottenham creates more rumours in the last four-and-a-half years than any other big club.
“I think the players don’t care too much about what happens about the rumours. We’re focused and we’re going to be focused on our job. We are very professional.
“I’m happy here in Tottenham and I have four-and-a-half years left on my contract. I understand you’re interested because there are a lot of rumours but look, I’m happy here, trying to give my best to the club.”
Pochettino believes Jose Mourinho’s exit at Old Trafford shows it is pointless to consider what could happen in six months.
“Like always in football, no-one can guarantee nothing and when you are a manager, look what happened,” he said. “What’s going to happen in the summer? What’s going to happen tomorrow? No-one knows. The most important thing is to enjoy the journey. We’re so happy here.
“What the decision is going to be in another club, we don’t know. That’s not my business, it’s so difficult to guess, and then I’m not going to waste time or energy because my focus and my energy is in this club, is on tomorrow and to prepare the best way the games, and of course to respect the club that employs you.”
Tottenham visit Arsenal for a Carabao Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday and Harry Kane’s fitness is in doubt.
“We need to assess him because he had a cold this morning and he didn’t go outside to train,” said Pochettino. “It’s a big decision. If we consider that he can cope with 90 minutes, maybe he can play.
“If not, maybe he will be on the bench […] because to protect him, he didn’t train outside. He was doing something in the gym.
“[Juan] Foyth is in the squad tomorrow but Davinson [Sanchez], still no. But he is so close — maybe for the weekend.”
Along with Sunday’s opponents, Everton, Tottenham face the most tightly condensed schedule of fixtures over Christmas, with four matches between Dec. 23 and Jan. 1 and only six days off in between — but Pochettino isn’t complaining.
“Look, maybe in the previous seasons we’ve had more rest than others,” he said. “Of course, I prefer to have more. But I accept that sometimes it’s for us and sometimes it’s against us, and I think this season we’re going to suffer.
“The fixtures are not helping this season, but we’re doing well. Sometimes you’re happy with the fixtures and you don’t get a good result. But yes, of course, that’s why it’s so important to manage properly the rotation and the rest of the players and try to avoid what’s happening not only in our squad but in different squads.
“It was a very difficult summer. We’re suffering across the Premier League — there are a lot of injuries — because the players have suffered a lot.”