Pochettino’s press conference vs WEST HAM

Romeo Lavia is a Chelsea player, why did you decide to sign him?

“We all know him, his quality and his profile. I think he is the perfect player for this project. We are excited and we are so happy to have him in the squad.”

And Moises Caicedo has also signed, why did the club fight so hard to sign him?
The club worked really, really hard. I would like to congratulate the owners, the sporting directors, everyone involved because the job was amazing. To add this sort of player like Moises, or Romeo now, I think it was a fantastic work from the club.
We need to congratulate the job they are doing, the owners and the sporting directors because it was fantastic. This type of player, with the qualities they have, to come into this squad and to this project. It’s really exciting moment and situation for the club.”

Reece James is injured, how long could he be out for?
I think it’s a sad moment because he’s our captain. He was so excited to be a captain, full of energy. I think we are going to assess him day-by-day as well as possible. For sure, he is going to become stronger than he was, we are going to help him to become stronger than before.”

Michael Olise – are you surprised he decided to turn down Chelsea? Are you looking at other options in that forward area?

“We are working, of course. We are looking at all of the options that we can manage on the market. We can see the potential. But I think at the same time, we are keeping one or two eyes on Armando Broja.

“We cannot forget him. We cannot stop him. We really believe in him – we know how important he can be for Chelsea. We need to be careful. I think it’s a big disappointment with the situation of Christoph, because he should be a really important player for us and to help Nico Jackson score goals. That is football and we need to accept that situation. Sometimes we cannot go for some player that maybe we already have. We need to be patient and adapt our squad and get positive results while waiting for Armando to be fully fit.”
Will Robert Sanchez be the number one or will you sign someone to compete with him this season?

“That is a good question because we are thinking of that. We are thinking and exploring all of the situations and possibilities on the market. The club is assessing all the options. At the moment, we are exploring all of the options that are on the market and there is still no decision.”

On Reece James, is it a hamstring injury? So is it not that serious if it’s a ‘day-by-day’ situation?

“Yes, it’s a hamstring. It’s not a few days, it’s maybe a few weeks. The good thing is that it’s not a good issue. The most important thing now is to worry about anticipating problems. When he plays again, we hope he’s stronger than he was before. We will assess him day-by-day and make a plan every day.”
You’ve brought a few players in.
Are you now where you want to be or ahead of where you wanted to be?

“I was in a good place. Now, I’m in a better place. I was happy. I was talking with the squad yesterday, we were joking a little bit. They asked me: ‘Do you really believe that can be possible when we talk about the project?’, I said ‘Yes, maybe you weren’t very optimistic but the club have done a very good job’.

“I think the squad is very exciting when you look at the squad we have today. Now is the process; to work really hard and find the best dynamic of the team. That is our job, it’s a massive challenge, but we are excited about this.”
You’ve beaten Liverpool to a couple of signings. Does that send a message out?

“That is about the players’ decision. It’s the players’ decision that they decide to come here. It wasn’t a competition – it was the players’ decision to join us. That makes us very happy and they speak really highly of the owners, our sporting director and the way that they work to earn the target.

“The players wanted to come here. I think they are feeling something special – I hope they are feeling something special. Something good is happening here.”

Some of your players said they see you as more of a friend than a manager. How do you see that?
Some of your players said they see you as more of a friend than a manager. How do you see that?

“I am not happy with this [laughs]! Can you tell me the names? Nah, I understand the situation. Being strong like a coach but also be friendly, and be honest and be tough and in the way that we can approach today. All of these guys, these young guys, they could be like my kids, you know? It’s important to understand the psychology today of the player. In the past it was different but we can apply the ideas to get the best from them.

“In some points I am happy. In others I am disappointed. I prefer to be a better coach than a friend [laughs].”
What do you expect from West Ham?

“It’s going to be tough. We know how they are going to play. They are beginning to change the shape but it’s always going to be tough. All of the Premier League games will be difficult. They are a very good team doing a great job. Last season, they lifted a trophy, so they are very confident. For sure, it’s going to be tough.”

Yesterday, Mikel Arteta said the amount of games players are playing, it’s having an impact on injuries. Agreed?

“We need to understand what is going on in the business. If we want to be here, and pay for players, salaries, every year improving in every single aspect of our life – it’s a lot to understand in our situation. I’m not going to say anything from the idea of Mikel or a different coach but if you are outside of the business, you should do everything to be involved and when you are involved, sometimes you need to understand the results are everything you need to have good players.

“Every single club is different. I cannot say Nkunku is injured because of too many games because I don’t want to lie because that was things that can happen in football. I cannot talk for another coach. In this case, Mikel, maybe he has reasons to complain. In my case, I cannot find any reason to complain at the moment.”

Is this the ideal size for your squad?

“Yes, I think 22, 23 players plus three, four or five players to use every week. We were using some young players from the academy yesterday and I was very surprised and happy about the performance and the quality. I think it’s very good. We can add some players but this number, 23, 22 or 23, seems perfect for the moment.

“We are not going to be involved in European competition, maybe next season if we are, this number is good also. To bring young guys from the academy to hopefully play from the first-team.”

What did you learn from your first weekend back in the Premier League?
The tempo is amazing. We were playing in the Premier League Summer Series in America but it’s not the same, the tempo. The tempo is amazing; it’s higher than other competitions in Europe and the world. The time to recover is completely different. I learned the quality was there and this is the most difficult competition in the world.”

Exits – players like Lewis Hall, Hakim Ziyech etc. what’s the latest with them?
Nothing has changed at the moment. The moment where something happens, we will inform. But at the moment nothing has changed. Maybe it can happen in one or two hours, or in one or two days. But at the moment, nothing to inform.”

Are Caicedo and Lavia ready to make their debuts?

“We have one day more to assess them, but it has been stressful weeks for Moises and Romeo also. It would be easy to say they would be involved but the most important thing is to avoid risks and not to rush with them. If they are ready tomorrow, they will be involved but if not, we will wait a few days more to be involved in the squad.”

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