LONDON (Reuters) - More Tottenham Hotspur players could follow Kyle Walker out of the club to win silverware, but manager Mauricio Pochettino says it will not detract from their plan for long-term success.
England right back Walker will line up against Tottenham on Saturday having made the move to Manchester City in the summer for a fee of around 50 million pounds ($66.56 million).
After two successive title challenges with Tottenham, Walker is now part of a seemingly unstoppable City side who are 11 points clear of second-placed Manchester United and 18 ahead of Pochettino’s Tottenham who are fourth.
“It’s human nature that a player wants to prove, or have a different challenge,” Pochettino told reporters at the club’s training ground when asked if he was worried other members of his squad might be jealous of Walker’s big-money move.
“They might have different ideas but I’m not worried. Maybe some players are not agreed in (our) plan and this strategy, and of course they are right to complain, to talk and in the end to want to move or have another challenge for different reasons.
“We are all different and we all have different challenges, motivations, roles in our life. That is normal. The most important thing is to talk, to design the plan for everyone and then be happy everyone because life is about enjoying and being happy. It’s not about wasting time in a bad way.”
Tottenham will try to stop City’s record-breaking 15-match winning streak in the Premier League at the Etihad on Saturday.
Tottenham finished above City for the past two seasons and while an 18-point deficit now looks like a regression in their progress, Pochettino said it was impossible to compare the respective path of the two clubs.
“We’re not worried. We know how our project is and who we are, and in the end we try to develop our project not only thinking about today and tomorrow, but thinking long-term,” the Argentine said. “It’s not only that we need to win today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow. We need to win today, tomorrow and in one year and two, three, four years.
“That is the plan for Tottenham. It may be completely different than others teams, that the most important thing is to win today. That is a good point for the debate when people assess us and compare with another team.”
One of Pochettino’s most notable away victories in the Premier League was against City in February 2016 when they won 2-1.
They also drew there last season 2-2 and beat Guardiola’s side at home and Pochettino said his side were “excited” about the challenge of facing them on Saturday.
“They are doing a fantastic season and deserve all the praise,” he said. “They are the best team in Europe, not just England on form. Of course for us it’s a tough game but in the same way a fantastic challenge and an exciting game.”
($1 = 0.7513 pounds)
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar