Pochettino: Some Spurs stars may need two months to get fit

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was relieved and proud after his side kicked off the new season with a battling win at Newcastle on Saturday.

Goals from Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli, either side of a Joselu strike, put Tottenham 2-1 ahead inside the opening 18 minutes before they held on for three precious points despite Newcastle hitting the woodwork twice.

Five of Tottenham’s starting XI were World Cup semi-finalists this summer and therefore had less than a week of pre-season training after taking late holidays.

‘I think I am so proud, Pochettino told Sky Sports. ‘I think the performances with all the circumstance was fantastic, brilliant. We played a very good team, Newcastle.

‘With all the circumstance in preparing for the game only we can say it was brilliant. We can do better, we need to play better, be more consistent, not allow the opponent to create so many chances.

‘It was a massive challenge to get organised in a few days to prepare for the game and I am not going to complain. We need to take that, try to be clever and learn.’

Pochettino was full of praise of Alli, who was one of five Spurs starters who did not play in any of their pre-season friendlies.

The manager added: ‘I think it was fantastic. I said during the week I was so happy with all the players arriving from holidays, he was one of them.

‘So strong, very focused and trying to start the season in a very good condition. Today he showed quality but we need to keep growing and getting better.’

While Alli excelled, England team-mate Harry Kane looked a little sluggish.

Pochettino admitted it may take some of his players up to two months to get fully fit.

He explained: ‘It’s so difficult to know as everybody is different.

Some players will be 100 per cent in a few weeks, others maybe two months. We are trying to understand and give them the help to improve but football is squad game.’

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