Tottenham are lacking unity and desire, admits Mauricio Pochettino

<span>Photograph: Frank Augstein/AP</span>
Photograph: Frank Augstein/AP

Mauricio Pochettino admitted that Tottenham are “far, far away” from the creation of the required togetherness as he lamented the lack of desire in their 1-0 home defeat by Newcastle.

The manager has made plain his unhappiness at how the transfer window continues to be open in Spain and other major European leagues yet closed in England, saying that it leaves Spurs vulnerable to predatory approaches.

The situation is most unsettling with regard to Christian Eriksen, who has said he is open to a new challenge – having entered the final year on his Spurs contract. Pochettino is fearful that a leading club could still attempt to prise Eriksen away before 2 September.

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Pochettino used Eriksen only as a second-half substitute against Newcastle and he was grilled about the player in his post-match press conference. Once again he could offer no assurances as to whether he would remain a Spurs player.

“I don’t know that,” Pochettino said. “Why do you ask me? Do you know something. The situation is so difficult but we cannot blame this [for the performance]. It is not a justification for the performance. When you play football and you are on the pitch, you don’t think about this situation.

“The problem is during the week, not when the competition arrives. This type of situation happens in the Premier League. That is why you need to create a very good dynamic and strong team bonding and, at the moment, that situation in our group is still far, far away. The group is still unsettled and we need to find solutions.

“We didn’t play well and I’m very disappointed about our performance. We conceded a very cheap goal and then it was difficult. We created some chances but not enough. We should have played better, [with] more desire, more capacity, more aggression with the ball. To have 80% of possession is too much when you only have a few shot on target.”

Steve Bruce – for whom the win cut through the early season tension – said he had watched the climax to England’s dramatic Ashes victory over Australia before kick-off.

“I don’t know what was more nervous – the last 10 minutes of the cricket or this,” the Newcastle manager said. “Ben Stokes can certainly play centre-half for us next week! A lot of the criticism has been unjust but the only thing you can do to quieten the storm is to find a performance and a result. Nobody gave us a hope in hell’s chance but the way we performed was great to see.”