Mauricio Pochettino and Rafa Benitez have very different challenges ahead of the start of the new Premier League season.

In only five days time the two managers face each other once again in the opening match of the season.

The Newcastle boss has been badly let down when it comes to essential signings, Rafa going  public with the fact that once again Mike Ashley had blocked him bringing in his top targets which he’d lined up.

The net result is that instead of bringing in the top targets he wanted and having them in training and games in pre-season, he has instead had to go way down his list of preferred signing, and with three days until transfer deadline, the Newcastle boss is still waiting to see how many of the four or five players he still desperately wants to bring in.

The problem for Mauricio Pochettino is very different, rather than a manipulative and intransigent club owner ruining his pre-season preparations, it is the World Cup that has interfered with the planning of the Spurs boss.

Today (Monday) will be the first time he will have all nine of those players who were involved right up until the final two days of the World Cup

England’s Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier, Eric Dier and Danny Rose along with Belgium’s Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Mousa Dembele. Belgium beating England in the third/fourth place play-off. In addition, World Cup winning keeper Hugo Lloris will also join them at training today.

Mauricio Pochettino believes it is ‘almost impossible’ for any of these nine players to be fit to face Newcastle and it is taking a longer-term view.

Saying there is no way he will consider including them if there is any ‘risk’ whatsoever, of them then becoming unavailable due to coming back too soon.

In the absence of so many first choice players, Spurs have done remarkably well, beating both AC Milan and Roma in their North American tour, as well as drawing 2-2 with Barcelona.

The weekend though saw a very young Tottenham team hammered 4-1 by La Liga side Girona, though many of the players had only stepped off a plane from America some 48 hours earlier.

One thing seems for sure and that is it won’t be until very late in the week that Rafa Benitez and Mauricio Pochettino will be deciding their line-ups.

Here’s hoping that home advantage can make a difference and whatever Newcastle side lines up, they can rise to the occasion, because it is such a tough set of opening fixtures.

Mauricio Pochettino:

“It would be better for these players (who were involved on the final weekend of the World Cup finals) to miss the first one or two games, than to play and end up getting injured, missing more games further down the line.

“It is a massive challenge for these players to get fit in time for the Newcastle game…almost impossible.

“If we feel it is too much of a risk to play these players, then no matter how much work they have been doing, we will not play them.

“I messaged Harry Kane (after he turned up for training early) saying he was showing great commitment. He replied ‘Gaffer, I want to be ready for Newcastle.’

“I told him you need to rest, because 20 days is the minimum time you need to have off at the end of a season, to ensure a full recovery.

“It shows great commitment, but we will assess all of the returning players on Monday, and we will not be taking any risks.

“It’s going to be a long season and we need to ensure that these players have had the right amount of recovery before starting it.”

  • Hughie_Gallacher

    Considering their impressive pre-season form, although without many first choice players, I doubt Spurs have any reason to be concerned about a Newcastle team in disarray.

    • Spurs est1882

      Ha – if you ever seen Spurs, even with a full fledged team we can lose to anyone.

      • Ron

        But not as often as we can, although I don’t want to carry on that way! Our fat owner seems to like the idea.

        • Spurs est1882

          Our owner seems to want to win some imaginary trophy of “over achievers of the year” we must be the only team in the history of the league to come 2nd, 2nd, 3rd and then have no investment. Only player of ANY merit since our first time of finishing 2nd was Sanchez, and he was a punt not a recognised top player.

          • Ron

            So at least you have an owner that wantsd to win something! And look at your starting position compared to ours.

          • glassjawsh-got-banned

            and our owner doesn’t seem to want to win anything, ever… real or imagined

          • Spurs est1882

            your owner is probably the one person that our Owner can look at running a club worse than ours does (hope that makes sense). I do feel for you guys, but I am not sure what is worse, midtable, staying midtable, and buying midtable – or top 3 year on year and no-one trying to take the next step. we are falling apart next summer, our manager will almost certainly go.

          • glassjawsh-got-banned

            if only midtable was the goal… Mike Ashley would be happy with 17th for the next 20 years.

          • Spurs est1882

            you will probably find when he gets bought out he has skimmed a lot from you guys. You should be one of the richest clubs in the world with your fan base and your 50k stadium for decades.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            You’re team reminds me of us back when Robson was in charge finishing up there but just need that last push to really kick on & win things

          • whitleylad

            We once fluked a 5th place finish under Ashley and, despite needing to strengthen our squad for the extra Europa League games, made only one very average signing that summer (Vernon Anita) and ended up nearly getting relegated!

    • ghostrider

      Pre-season friendlies are what the name suggests. Friendlies.
      This mean getting up to speed and fitness much more than results.
      The real bread and butter starts next week against Tottenham.
      Pre-season games do not give any true yardstick to what the outcome will be.

      • Ken


      • TheFatController

        Ah, now I know what friendliest are for. I did always wonder.


        • ghostrider

          You’re welcome.

      • Wor Lass

        At least you only wasted 4 lines-worth of time on that one.

        • TheFatController

          Still fulfilling his ‘100% inane nonsense’ remit though, I notice.

        • Kneebotherm8

          Yeah…’s normally a long winded twenty paragraph pile of 💩 he writes…….

  • Ron

    I hope that this will therefore be a “lucky” start for us and lets hope for more luck in the following 37 games (ex cups!)

    • TheFatController

      Yes, the two cup games ;)

  • Paul Patterson

    What a chance it would have been to have a squad/team fully bedded in in time to take advantage of Spurs so called ‘problems’.
    In other news Man Utd look to be preparing a bid for Maguire. Keep your eyes peeled for helicopters outside Lascelles’ house . .

  • Toonarden

    “Hardly possible any of these nine players will be ready for the first game”?
    Yeah …and I’ve just seen a pink cow fly over my garden.

  • Peter London

    Eriksen, Son and Sanchez from involvement in the Wold Cup will likely play, so too will Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura, and possibly Llorente, with players like Ben Davies, Kyle Walker Peters and Serge Aurier also involved. Spurs have two good alternatives to Hugo Lloris in goal. That still leaves two more needed to make up a starting eleven and probably the bench will look thin, though a couple of Spurs red-hot young lads recently seen on pre-season tour may get to play. Newcastle must be in with a chance, but Pochettino has known for weeks that many of his players would be involved in the late stages of the World Cup and that would affect his early-season team selections. He’s an astute manager.

  • East Durham Mag

    The poor dears have only had 3 weeks to rest. Must be so harsh.

  • magpiefifer

    Whoever the Spuds put out on Saturday they will score – will we!!?