Mauricio Pochettino: Spurs want Premier League, not domestic cups

LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham Hotspur are too big a club to focus on winning the domestic cups, insisting the priority is to win the Premier League or the Champions League.

Spurs have not won the league title since 1961 and their last trophy was the 2008 League Cup. But under Pochettino they have challenged for the title in the last two seasons, finishing second behind Chelsea last term, and returned to the Champions League, where they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in last week's group-stage opener.

Pochettino led Spurs to the 2015 League Cup final in his first season at the club and they were beaten in last season's FA Cup semifinal but, speaking ahead of Tuesday's Carabao Cup third-round match against Barnsley, the manager dismissed the importance of the domestic cups.

"The project here at Tottenham is to try to win the Premier League or the Champions League. For me, that is the two big trophies," Pochettino told a news conference.

"OK, I would love to win the Carabao Cup or the FA Cup for our fans, but Tottenham must build a project with the possibility to fight for Champions League or Premier League. Sorry, first of all the Premier League and then the Champions League. If we are going to try to win Carabao Cup or FA Cup, and forget the Premier League or Champions [League], it's a big mistake.

"I think what it means for a big team to win trophies is to win the Premier League or Champions League. There are a lot of examples: in my second season at Southampton, Wigan won FA Cup. Where is Wigan today, with all my respect? League One. That is the most important example.

"Of course I would like to win trophies, but first of all we'll fight for the Premier League or the Champions League."

Pochettino said he will make wholesale changes for the Championship club's visit to Wembley, including a competitive debut for 17-year-old midfielder Tashan Oakley-Boothe, who impressed on the club's preseason tour of the United States.

But Marcus Edwards, the England youth international who made his debut in last season's League Cup third-round victory against Gillingham, will not feature.

"No, Marcus will not be involved tomorrow in the first team," Pochettino said. "Last season was difficult for him. Remember he was injured and then he had an operation and I think it was a tough season for him. He dropped a little bit but it's normal after nearly one season that he didn't play.

"Now he's building his confidence again. We're so happy because he played very well against Manchester United and then in the Youth Cup he was very good.

"But I think we need to wait a little bit for him to build more his physical condition and his confidence. He's better playing in the under-23s or the Youth Cup than staying with us, maybe on the bench. I think it's a situation we have under control and we are looking after him to try to again have the facility to be involved with the first team. But it's step by step."

Nineteen-year-old centre-back Juan Foyth is likely to debut against the Championship club, while Fernando Llorente is expected to make his first start for the club. Michel Vorm, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and Harry Winks are also expected to play.