NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Mauricio Pochettino has dismissed the suggestion that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is restricting the club's spending and explained the difficulty of signing players, claiming several transfer targets, including Chelsea's Alvaro Morata, have been reluctant to compete for a first-team place.
Levy questioned the "totally unsustainable" spending of Spurs' Premier League rivals last week, and it is often perceived that he prevents his managers from spending.
Pochettino's predecessors Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas complained that Levy did not back them in the transfer market but the tables seem to have turned, and club sources have told ESPN FC that Pochettino rejected the deals for Porto's Ricardo Pereira and Juan Foyth of Estudiantes because he felt they were too expensive.
Spurs are the only Premier League club yet to make a summer signing but when told that many outsiders blame Levy, but ahead of the friendly with Juventus at Wembley on Saturday, Pochettino said: "That is a very wrong perception.
"In three years, my experience with Daniel is that he's always been trying to find a player to improve us. I think Daniel is very keen for signings every season, in my experience.
We have a lot of meetings, spontaneous meetings, talking every day on the training ground. I think we are all involved in the process.
"Of course, the last decision is between Daniel and me if we sign the player. But we are all involved in the process to try to find the right player for us."
For Pochettino, the biggest problem is finding top players who are willing to challenge for a spot in a team that won 12 of the final 13 games of last season, and finished the campaign with the best attack and defence in the top flight.
Among the targets unenthusiastic about fighting for a place was Morata, who joined Chelsea from Real Madrid in a deal worth up to £65 million last month -- only for Blues manager Antonio Conte to say a week later that if he could buy one striker, it would be Tottenham's Harry Kane.
Pochettino admitted that he spoke to Morata about signing from Juventus in 2015, only for the Spaniard to question why he would want to compete with two-time Golden Boot-winner Kane.
"When you play in the Premier League and Champions League, you need quality and numbers," Pochettino said. "To create a winning team and try to win trophies, you need to feel the pressure.
"It is like the chicken or the egg. We understand that Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, [Eric] Dier, [Toby] Alderweireld are really good players. They want to win, like us. But they need to feel the pressure to improve in every season.
"If I'm Harry Kane, Dele Alli or Eriksen, if there's no competition behind, it's normal to drop your motivation, it's normal to drop everything that you do. If some players arrive with different energy then it's, 'OK, come on, we need to push, we need to run, we need to do the same.'
"These type of player we are talking about are not easy to find. Morata talked about myself in the media he said, 'Mauricio called me.' That was from the beginning, two years ago. He said to me, 'Why do you want me if you have Harry Kane?'
"You know, if you go to try to sign a striker, they will say, 'Eh, gaffer, you want me for what? To be on the bench? Because I can't compete with Harry Kane.' It's the same with Hugo Lloris or different players. Then it's so difficult to convince good players to come and then be on the bench."
Pochettino's idea has already worked at full-back, where Ben Davies provides competition for Danny Rose at left-back, and Kieran Trippier's rise persuaded the club to sell homesick Kyle Walker to Manchester City for £50m last month.
The Spurs manager insisted he had no issues with Walker and dismissed the suggested he did not trust the 27-year-old to play three times in a week.
"A lot of rumour happened in that period. Our relationship was good," Pochettino said. That is so strange because I never told you that he could not play three times in a week. There were rumours in the media that I wasn't happy with him because he could not play, I never said that. Like we had some problem or fight? Never. Never. I can show you the messages when he left."
Pochettino added: "When we arrived, we bought Ben Davies to push Danny Rose, Trippier to push Kyle Walker That is the best example [of competition for places].
"We need quality and players with the facility to fight with our number one, and to try to help them push their level. That is the key. If we're capable of doing this, it's sure we will have success.
"Last season, Kieran and Kyle started to share one game each. If you watch again the last 14 games, Kyle was here, and Kieran was here. And when you play Trippier -- 4-0 against Watford. When Kyle played against West Brom or Swansea -- 4-0! When we played the [postseason] game in Hong Kong, our two right-backs were in the national team squad. That gave us justification of how we worked, and that the possibility to play both was the best way."
Pochettino added that every new signing would be given the opportunity to follow the lead set by Trippier and Alli, who joined the club from League One MK Dons in summer 2015 and has won two consecutive PFA Young Player of the Year awards.
"Always we told the players we will give the possibility to fight and, if you show me that you have the same level you, will have the possibility to play and you will have your chance. If you are better you will play. That competition they know.
"Dele Alli arrived from League One and after a few months started to play. So when a player comes in and for instance thinks he should play because he's played in the Champions League it's not about that. You need to deserve to play.
"Dele Alli came in and was better. Sometimes people complain -- not all the players but a player says, 'I am big!' But OK, go and show that every day in every single game that you deserve to play instead of another. That is all."