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Mauricio Pochettino: Busy summer taking toll ahead of Sunderland match
Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham are still recovering from a demanding summer as they look to hit top form in the Premier League.
Spurs are unbeaten in the league ahead of Sunday's game at home to Sunderland but Pochettino is far from satisfied with his side's start.
The Argentinian criticised his players' attitude during their Champions League defeat to Monaco on Wednesday and even said he was unhappy with the 4-0 win at Stoke last weekend.
Tottenham's summer preparations were heavily affected by Euro 2016, with the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Kyle Walker, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Hugo Lloris all involved in France.
It meant Kevin Wimmer was Spurs' only Euro 2016 player to go on their pre-season tour to Australia and Pochettino feels his squad are still adjusting.
"It was difficult because of the Euros, they come late, we were in Australia and some players started to play with only 10 days' or 14 days' training," Pochettino said.
"It is difficult to understand why in every game we have some period in the first half that is difficult to get the pace of the game and to manage and handle the game like we normally used to do.
"And then in the second half it is like we need that from the manager and the staff to wake up and say, 'This is the reality', we need to change and then say, 'Now yes we are going to do our job'.
"Maybe it is because the pre-season was difficult and all that happened in the summer, maybe now we are in a process to settle all the pieces."
Tottenham return to White Hart Lane this weekend, looking to extend an unbeaten record against Sunderland that stretches back to April 2010.
Pochettino, however, said he may rotate his starting line-up after admitting Wednesday's effort against Monaco could have an effect.
"All season it's difficult to play and when you play in the Champions League you expend a lot of energy," Pochettino said. "Maybe that for us is new, to handle playing Wednesday and Saturday or Sunday."
Black Cats boss David Moyes has told Jordan Pickford to take a look at England goalkeeper Joe Hart as he attempts to establish himself as a Premier League player.
The 22-year-old Sunderland starlet has endured a testing start to the season after being drafted in for the injured Vito Mannone with new boss Moyes trying to mould a team in front of him.
Pickford's late slip at Southampton before the international break saw the Saints snatch a point, although he turned in a good individual display against Everton on Monday night only to be let down by his defenders as Romelu Lukaku plundered an 11-minute second-half hat-trick.
Now Moyes, who has high hopes of the England Under-21 international, has challenged him to learn from Hart and his contemporaries to take the next step in his development.
The Scot said: "He needs to continue to up his level, he needs to continue to change his body and his frame. I remember Joe Hart when he first left Shrewsbury to come up - when you look at him compared to the shape and the size he looks now...
"There's a lot of work the goalkeepers, especially young goalkeepers, have to put in in the gym, through their level of commitment in their work, and Jordan should look at these people and how they were when they left at 21 and 22 years old and how they shape up now."
Moyes is acutely aware that Pickford is a young man playing in a position in which experience can be priceless.
However, he is confident his early exposure to the Premier League, which will continue at Spurs, will pay dividends in the long run.
He said: "I actually think Jordan will be pleased with his performance (against Everton) - and he should be pleased because I thought he played well. He handled well and he did his bit.
"But he is going to get worked, that's for sure, so he's going to be put under pressure. It was important that he came through this game well because he played well at Southampton, but let one slip and maybe if another one had gone in, we would have had to look at him a bit closer.
"But I thought he played very well. He looks as if he's got real potential to go on and become a first-class goalkeeper."
Moyes could turn to 28-year-old midfielder Lee Cattermole at White Hart Lane for the first time this season following his return to training after hernia surgery.