By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Mauricio Pochettino has warned Tottenham’s young stars they will be playing for their long-term futures at Arsenal on Sunday.
The Spurs manager was unhappy at the Champions League loss to Bayer Leverkusen at Wembley on Wednesday and wants a response in the derby after six games in all competitions without a win.
“We know we were poor and can’t play that way at Arsenal,” Pochettino said, as quoted by the Sun. “We are a very young team and we need to learn and improve.
“We are setting the principles, the values and looking to find a better way to play.
“So now we need to assess which players can be here for the next few seasons and which players need to show more to be here.”
Pochettino’s words will serve as a warning for the youngest squad in the Premier League, who go into Sunday’s clash as the second favourites to high-flying Arsenal.
The Argentine admits he is still scarred by last season’s late collapse in the title race.
A 5-1 defeat at relegated Newcastle on the final day allowed bitter rivals Arsenal to pinch the runners-up spot and finish above their North London neighbours for the 21st year in a row.
“I still feel bad about it,” Pochettino said to the Sun. “With two games left and one point needed to be above Arsenal, it was very frustrating to finish like that.
“It is still difficult not to think about it but it is also important to finish above everyone — not just Arsenal.”
Spurs are unbeaten in their 10 Premier League matches this season but are five points behind new leaders Chelsea ahead of Sunday’s short trip to Emirates Stadium.
In other Tottenham news, the club are all but certain to agree the £17million transfer of a 21-year-old.