Mauricio Pochettino says he feels the “worst” he has done as Tottenham manager despite guiding the club to their best-ever Premier League start as he prepares his team to take on Manchester City.
The 46-year-old Argentine believes Spurs are “not showing that level to be a real contender” even though they would leapfrog the defending champions if they beat them at Wembley.
Pochettino, who has been praised for nurturing a group of talented young players delivering an eye-catching style of football, has had to contend with a number of frustrations despite the bright start to the Premier League season, which has brought seven wins from nine games.
Tottenham’s new stadium is facing ongoing delays, with the club announcing that the rest of their 2018 home games will be at the national stadium.
And Spurs became the first club in Premier League history not to sign anyone during the summer transfer window, even though many of their players were involved in the latter stages of the World Cup.
“The season so far, it’s strange because my feeling is the worst feeling I’ve had in the five years that I’ve been here,” said Pochettino.
“It’s the worst. My feeling, but it’s the best start ever for the club in the Premier League. It’s strange, no?”
Pochettino, who has in the past been linked with the Real Madrid job even though he is yet to win silverware, said his depressed mood dated back to events in the summer.
“I am disappointed we are still waiting for the new stadium when the expectation was to be there at the beginning of the season,” he said.
“I don’t know, many things happened in the summer, many things that make myself not in my best mood or best humour.”
Pochettino’s main frustration on the pitch has been the lack of a killer touch. The club have reached the FA Cup semi-finals in the past two years only to be defeated by Chelsea and Manchester United.
“I think, like a team, we still didn’t win nothing,” he said. “We fail but we achieve. And of course always when we arrive at like a final game, we always fail.
“It’s about learning to compete. It’s about learning to be better. It’s about changing something we need to do different.”
© Agence France-Presse (Additional Edits By Oisin McQueirns)