New Tottenham head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has spoken to the media for the first time since joining Spurs.
The 47-year-old succeeds former boss Jose Mourinho in the dugout in north London having left Wolves at the end of last season.
Spurs‘ pre-season preparations are already underway and they face Leyton Orient in a friendly on Saturday.
Ahead of the 2021/22 campaign, Nuno spoke to the press for the first time as Spurs’ head coach. Here is what we learned…
Speculation has been rife about the future of England captain Harry Kane for months, but Nuno assured fans that he will not be going anywhere.
“Harry is our player, period. No need to talk about anything else. Now is the time for Harry to recover his energy and rest. When he returns is the time to talk. He needs to prepare for what’s to come.
“I have no doubts in my mind. I have no doubts. What I wish is for Harry to recover well, to have a good rest and when he arrives he will feel that everyone of us has to commit ourselves to become better. We are very ambitious, we are ambitious people and we want to do it well and no doubts on Harry on that.”
While Spurs have generally been good at holding onto their star players in recent years, they’ve rarely dipped their toes into the transfer market for someone to make an immediate impact. And Nuno believes that this will continue to be the case.
“We’ve been talking – not only me and Fabio [Paratici], Steve [Hitchen] also. We are aware there’s a lot of work to be done, but at the same time it’s hard work because to improve our squad, the quality we have, the talent we have, is not easy, and we have to find the right players who can help us, but it’s been good work and on a daily basis each moment we have the chance to speak, to share opinions – me, Fabio, Steve.
“They do their job, look at the market. I do my job on the training ground and we get together ideas and try to find the best decisions. But like I say to improve our squad is not easy.
“It is hard to improve our squad with the talent and quality we have.
“We have to find the right players who can help us and join us. We are sharing opinions, looking at the market. We try to make the best decisions.”
Things have gone a bit awry for Spurs since they reached the Champions League final only two years ago. Nuno recognises that the facilities on offer to him are great, but hard work and intensity is needed as well.
“We have to be really careful on how we prepare for how we want to play. We are preparing the players in terms of fitness and mentality.
“They must be able to be intense in every action. Then will come our ideas of how we want to play.
“We have to be organised first. At the moment we work on fitness. We are intense in our training, and the players have been great.
“[Tottenham] is a fantastic club, amazing. We have the best facilities in the world and we have to raise our standards to be equal. I have no doubts in my mind.”
Wolves largely played with three-at-the-back systems during Nuno’s time at Molineux, though he did revert to a back four at the end of last season. But he insists that flexibility will be crucial for Spurs.
“We are focused on many aspects of the game. Now it’s about preparing the players to play in many different ways. We have to be organised. The last two weeks, the focus has been on fitness.”
Nuno quickly won Spurs fans over when he previously said his intention is to make them proud of the club again, and it’s a sentiment he reiterated.
“I am here, this is where I want to be, I am so happy. What we want is to make our fans proud and make our teams love their players, let’s make our fans proud, to create a good atmosphere. I’m totally positive that the fans are going to love it.
“What we want is to make our fans proud, to make them enjoy their players, love their players, this is our focus, let’s make our fans proud, to create a good atmosphere, help the players throughout the season and every moment. I think they will enjoy. This is what I am telling the players, ‘Let’s enjoy ourselves’. Our football must be the reflection in the mirror of what we are doing, what we want to do and I am totally positive the fans are going to love it.”