Mauricio Pochettino has told his Tottenham Hotspur players they must impress him all over again after their World Cup exploits forced him to embark on a rotation policy.

Spurs take on Manchester United at Old Trafford tomorrow night having failed to add to a squad who have consistently challenged for the title under the Argentine without managing to win a trophy.

Pochettino insists the lack of new faces has prompted him to view his squad with a fresh perspective and the team he picks tonight will certainly be a talking point.

Hugo Lloris, his goalkeeper and captain, has had a traumatic few days, having spent seven hours in jail on Friday morning and been charged with drink-driving.

The man who captained France in the World Cup final last month could find himself stripped of the armband, with Harry Kane, the man who wears it for England, an obvious instant replacement. But it would equally be no surprise should Pochettino continue to pick a player who has been a consistent performer for the past few seasons.

Reputations could count for nothing right now however, according to Pochettino, who has decided to reboot a squad who could not be refreshed.

“For me, all the players that are here start from zero,” he said. “It is so important to give opportunities, not because of last season or two seasons ago. [It] is a new chapter. When I signed the new contract here it is like I’ve arrived from the first day. No prejudging. You start from zero. You can deserve to play under our judgment. It is not to see what happened in the past.”

Except if it occurred in the World Cup finals. Eight Spurs men featured in the third-place play-off between England and Belgium and Pochettino is mindful of a short gap between that game and the start of the season.

“Now, more than ever, we need to be clever in the way that we will manage the players,” Pochettino said. “For me, the first few months, our fans, you need to expect that we may play with a different starting XI, change a lot and maybe we are going to go from one system to another. We need to be sure that we don’t take risks for the players.”

Jose Mourinho has cut a grumpy figure ever since his board failed to land him the top-class centre-half he wanted, with Toby Alderweireld constantly linked with a move from Spurs. Pochettino has always insisted, in public at least, that he was perfectly happy to carry on with what he already had.

Alderweireld, reduced to a fringe figure last season because of a contractual dispute that remains unresolved, started the previous match and may keep his place.

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Tottenham’s record at Old Trafford certainly needs a change; they have lost all four under Pochettino without scoring. United fans seem to be falling out of love with Mourinho, with a fair few admitting they are admirers of Tottenham under the Argentine, who has established them as a high-energy side who often employ dynamic wing-backs.

But, for Pochettino, the “Special One” will always be a managerial icon. “A lot of things,” he said when asked what he had taken from Mourinho as a young manager at Espanyol. “He is an inspirational manager for a manager like me.”

Online Editors