Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino insists his current rebuild job is nothing compared with the one he inherited in his first season at the club.
Pochettino, whose side face his former club Southampton on Saturday, admitted in the summer that he was leading Spurs into a new chapter following the completion of their new stadium and their run to the Champions League final.
He warned of a “painful rebuild” and so far that has proved to be the case as he signed just four players in the summer – and only Tanguy Ndombele has started a game so far – while a host of his existing players have doubts surrounding their future.
That has led to a difficult start to the campaign, which has seen them win just two of their opening eight games in all competitions, but Pochettino says his challenge was much tougher than when he arrived in 2014.
Following his appointment as Tim Sherwood’s successor, he was tasked with overhauling a large squad that needed some experienced players shipping out and his mission this year is a similar one.
“Similar situation but different circumstances,” the Argentinian said. “Different solution and a different way to operate.
“I think it’s different. When I arrived, I didn’t know a single player. We found 34 players in the squad, my first 34 players, but now I know nearly all the players.
“It was difficult. Because it’s different in all the ways.
“When I arrived here, Daniel didn’t know me too much. He needed time to understand my philosophy, my ideas, how I need to work and why I didn’t reply when he sent text messages to me!
“He needed time to understand me. But now, Daniel knows how I am.
“The circumstances are completely different and the way I communicate with him is the same as last season.
“You cannot expect I communicate differently with Hugo (Lloris) now as last season or the season before.
“But when I arrived here, we needed to create a channel to communicate with each other. Many things like this.”