Mauricio Pochettino knows the only way to stop people focusing on Tottenham is to get back to winning ways.
Spurs are in the midst of a three-game losing streak for the first time in Pochettino’s reign after back-to-back Premier League defeats to Watford and Liverpool were followed by a Champions League reverse at Inter Milan.
It can hardly be considered a crisis, but some of the inquests have already begun, with attention drawn to Harry Kane’s poor form, worn out players, no summers signings and off-field issues, including delays to their new stadium and a drink-driving charge for Hugo Lloris.
But, if they win at Brighton tomorrow all that will be forgotten, according to a relaxed Pochettino, who could have Dele Alli back in contention.
“The only way we can stop that [criticism] is winning games and if we don’t win everyone is going to criticise more than now,” he said.
And you know what is going to happen when we don’t win games, the first responsible is me. I am so relaxed. In football something happens, the situation I am going to give my best until the end.
“I am going to stick with the club, I am not going to criticise the club.
“All the decisions are our decisions and of course always with the club until the end, maybe still here in five years or maybe in one week we are not here, but I will always talk well about the club and help them to achieve all they want.”
The Spurs boss urged his side to use the “pain” of their recent results to turn things around.
“I am so relaxed, I am so calm, because I know football,” he said.
In the same time when you win you get a lot of praise that sometimes you don’t deserve. When you lose you must keep the balance and accept the criticism and that people are going to think differently and of course try to find the reason why we lose.
“The group is OK. The group is of course a little bit anxious about winning games because it’s normal when you don’t win.
“The faces are different, and the atmosphere and the energy is different. That’s what happens.
“Sometimes it’s good to feel the pain, the defeat, not only the one, two but three.”
“It’s so important to be clever and be strong. Football is like life, it’s impossible to keep 70 years of happiness.”
It is no surprise that the losing run has coincided with a three-game goalless run for Harry Kane, whose form and fitness has been the focus of plenty of attention.
Although three games without a goal can hardly be considered a major drought, Kane has looked sluggish in recent weeks, but his boss is backing him to come good.
Harry Kane is one of the best players we have and that is not in doubt,” Pochettino said.
“Three games is not too much, it is three games where he didn’t score. All strikers suffer a period where they don’t score.
“But of course, because Harry Kane is so important for us and if he doesn’t score we struggle a little bit to win.
“I don’t have doubt that he is going to perform better in the future and score goals because he is a great player.”
Tottenham’s struggles on the pitch have coincided with goalkeeper Lloris’ absence, which came in the game after his arrest for drink-driving was announced.
He picked up a thigh injury in the 3-0 win at Manchester United on August 27 and has not featured since.
Pochettino has chosen not to reveal whether the France international has been punished by the club, but hopes to have him back soon.
“It is a point that we still do not know,” he said. “We hope as soon as possible but we think the plan is still next week if everything goes to plan in training.
“It is private. I think the punishment came from the court and public judgement is massive punishment. All that happened inside, I think we want to keep it inside.
“I think he was under stress during the game against Manchester United. I think the injury and with the added stress maybe created that injury.
“The injury now is helping him to take time and think and be a little bit more relaxed. To compete after what happened was a massive stress for him.”