Mousa Dembele says that Mauricio Pochettino’s training sessions already have improved the Tottenham Hotspur squad’s fitness levels.
The ex-Southampton boss is famed for his high-pressing and fast tempo approach to playing the game and, as a result, he demands that his players are in optimum condition when they take to the field.
It means that he already has a reputation of being a manager who demands a lot of his players in training – with Saints players joking that you needed three lungs to be able to play for him during his time at St Mary’s – and Dembele admits that adapting to Pochettino's new style has been enjoyable, but challenging.
“It’s been very good and although the training sessions are hard, we feel already that we have become more and more fit and that’s very good for us,” Dembele said.
The midfielder returned to White Hart Lane having had an extended break due to playing at the World Cup with Belgium and he says that he was behind the rest of the squad in terms of fitness when he came back.
“When we came back the other players were already very fit,” he revealed. “For us we want to get there very quickly – especially now the season has already started. As a player you want to play every game, but the season is long and with the Europa League we have a lot of games so there’s a lot to look forward to in the future.”
Spurs take on AEL Limassol in the competition tomorrow and they will be looking to progress, as the heavy favourites to win the match.
Pochettino had previously commented that the Europa League wasn’t of great importance to him, but appears to have changed his mind now and recently has said that is will be an excellent experience for his squad.
Although there have been no wholesale changes in the Argentine’s first summer in charge, with him choosing to place his faith in the players already in the squad, there is a greater sense of stability around White Hart Lane and that has caused optimism at White Hart Lane as they hope to breach the top four.
Their opening day performance was encouraging, too, as the squad battled to a 1-0 victory over London rivals West Ham United.
It is a platform for Spurs to build on for the rest of the season and as they continued to adapt to Pochettino’s methods they should become a stronger team, in every sense of the word, given the new boss’s demands.