QPR 1 Tottenham 2: Mauricio Pochettino praises special relationship with fans after Harry Kane double keeps Spurs on track

Presence of home grown players is helping fans get behind the team

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The Independent Football

Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham Hotspur’s mentality has been totally transformed and that a “special connection” has been formed with the fans due to the home-grown players appearing in the first team.

The manager said on arriving at White Hart Lane last May that one of his main jobs was to alter the psychology of the team. The perception of Spurs’ fragility had reached a nadir with Roy Keane’s revelations about an Alex Ferguson team talk. The former Manchester United midfielder said the manager’s only words before a game were: “Lads, it’s Tottenham”.

Pochettino has fought hard to change that aura of vulnerability, and this season has seen a series of late goals. Spurs have also bounced back from the disappointment of going out of the Europa League to Fiorentina and then losing the League Cup final to Chelsea in successive games by winning two consecutive matches themselves, beating Swansea City in midweek and Queen’s Park Rangers 2-1 on Saturday. Pochettino feels this shows their new resilience.

“We proved that the team has a strong mentality,” he said after the victory at Loftus Road. “We improved in that area, not only in a tactical or physical [sense], but mental state. We are much better than the beginning [of the season]. Now we are thinking to try and prepare for the game against Manchester United. You need points in every game to try to stay higher in the table. The most important thing I got from the team is that they believe in our way.”

 

Harry Kane’s two goals took his season’s tally in all competitions to 26 and led naturally to talk of an England call-up, but Pochettino was also keen to praise fellow academy product Ryan Mason.

“He is 23 but it’s his first season. He has potential to improve more, he’s in a very good way. He has character, big character, and personality,” he said.

“I think the connection [with the fans] is special now. The beginning was different. This was the reality, and now the connection between the team and the supporters is fantastic. It’s good, because the team showed the character that showed today and it’s normal… it’s not about the result. The supporters feel very proud of the team.”

Emphasising the connection, Pochettino said his sons were at the match on Saturday and chose to sit in the away stand rather than the directors’ box. The manager was filmed taking a photo of them on his phone after the match.

“It was a fantastic moment for them,” he said. “For me too. They have the possibility to go to the directors’ box but they prefer to go with the supporters, sing the songs.”

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