What are your thoughts on the defeat?
I feel that we lost a good chance to go through to the next round and to play the quarter-final in an important competition like the FA Cup. I think this. There is for sure disappointment for the final result. I think this type of game, especially when you play away and against a team who have played in the Premiership, you have to know the difficulty and for this reason you have to try to kill in a sporting way the opponent quickly.
I think we have had the chances to score but we didn’t take it and then you give confidence to your opponent, then you risk. At the end Middlesbrough won the game and they deserve to go to the next round. Great compliment to them, the manager and the players because I think they played very well.
Did you feel that Middlesbrough out-fought you?
I think that we should kill the game before. I repeat, when you play this type of game, from the start you have to kill the game, you have to kill your opponent. Your opponent has to feel that tonight it will be a bad night. Instead we kept Middlesbrough alive and after time then for sure they take confidence and then they created chances to score.
We had to take good learn about this defeat and continue to work because there is only one way to continue to work and try to avoid these up and downs. I always say we have to become stronger and if we want to become competitive then we have to be a stable team.
Too many up and downs still for us and for sure we have to continue to work very hard and try in the future to learn about this defeat.
How difficult is it to be sat here on March 1 and have no opportunity to win a trophy this season?
But we have to continue to work and to know that there is the opportunity to work and to know that there is the rest of the season.
There are three months and a half to work, to work very hard and get the best result and for the team to see at the end of the season which is our position in the table.
There is only this way and for sure we have to continue to work and to improve in many aspects. We can improve.
But for someone like yourself, how difficult is it to have no trophy to compete for?
But in this moment I’m the last person, I don’t think about myself. When I speak with my players and in my team and say that we have to think about ‘us’, not ‘me’.
For me no problem and for me there is the desire, the will, the patience to try to continue to work very hard to improve, to make this team more stable than the past, because I think this is the key that can change the situation.
You’ve been so up and down as a team, how do you instil that stability in the team?
I try every day through the work. Also sometimes to speak. For sure in this type of situation you need to find the right key to go into the mind of the players, because it’s not only sometimes a tactical problem or a technical problem.
Sometimes you have to try to work and to push in other aspects, the mental aspects and try to stay focused and to work also on the training sessions, to keep focusing.
I know that it’s very difficult because to be focused in every moment of the training, of the game is not easy. But if we want to be competitive in the future, these aspects we have to improve a lot.
Are you closer to understanding this team? Are there comparisons with the Mura match?
I think from that time we have improved a lot of situations. We have to continue to work because this type of defeat shows us that we have to continue to improve and it’s not enough what we are doing. I repeat I know only one way and that’s to work, to continue to work, to persevere. And it is very important to grow this group.
Was this a night when your big players needed to step up?
Yeah but the truth is that today we are talking about a defeat. The last game we won, two games ago we lost, three games ago we won, and I think that I can’t hide the reality no. The reality that we are having too many ups and downs. We have to try and work, and I think this is a problem now and maybe also in the past.
In my opinion there is only one way to try to improve, and to continue to work many aspects and to persevere. To be patient because you need to have patience in this process, and to hope in the future the situation will be much better and not to wait for a long time.
From the latest transfer news to those glorious wins in north London and beyond! There might even be a laugh or two too.
Do you question yourself after a game like this as you did after the Burnley match?
Sometimes it’s important for the coach when you have a media conference, behind our press conference has to be a strategy. Sometimes you have to be strong, sometimes light. My old coaches in Italy, especially Carletto Mazzone taught me that the coach sometimes has to use the carrot, sometimes the stick. I have to try the right way at the individual moment. After Burnley, I used the stick and we won!
After Leeds, the carrot we lost. I repeat: the coach has to try to find always the best solution, not because you’re upset, frustrated and disappointed. At every moment the situation has to be very clear. I know there’s a lot of space for improvement for this team and we have to try to be more stable. Tonight we showed that we have a lot of space for improvement in this aspect.
Is this squad strong enough to go to the next level?
I’m the coach of this team and when you have a coach and your players are the best in the world, it’s the same. For sure, I cannot consider my players the best in the world but we work to improve for the future and to try to reflect also on this defeat. For sure, this defeat has to hurt us – me, the players and everyone that works in Tottenham.