Tottenham: Pochettino praises aggression; Lloris calls for further improvement; Running record broken
Mauricio Pochettino praised Tottenham’s passion and aggression as they stormed to a 2-0 win over league leaders Manchester City at White Hart Lane yesterday. An Aleksandar Kolarov own goal and a cool finish by Dele Alli put the hosts into a comfortable half-time lead, and they missed the chance to win by an even more convincing margin when Erik Lamela missed a penalty in the second period.
A feature of the homes side’s performance was their relentless energy levels and hunger to win the ball back. City could not build from the back with their usual accuracy, not helped by the absence of Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Nolito. Many were sceptical regarding the summer purchases of Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama, but the pair were immense for Spurs yesterday; snapping into tackles a driving Guardiola’s side back towards their own goal. After the game, Pochettino said:
“It was a great, great victory for us against this opposition. I am very happy. Sometimes when you have a plan, it is good, sometimes less so, but Manchester City are a great team. It is difficult to play against them.
“We need to follow this after the international match and we have more tough games after the international break. If you play like we did today with passion and aggression, then you will always have a chance. It is always about mentality. That is what helps us run and play as we want to.
“The collective performance was strong. It is too early to take this into the table yet. We are still creating our philosophy.”
Arguably the most impressive aspect of Spurs’ performance yesterday was the fact they started the game without Eric Dier, Moussa Dembele or Harry Kane. Pochetinno was able to rely on the likes of Heung-Min Son, who has been in sparkling form of late as well as the new boys Wanyama and Sissoko. Spurs were arguably the best collective unit in the Premier League during the second half of last season but faded badly in the last few games once the title was out of reach. However, they seem to have greater squad depth this season and aren’t so reliant on a core of first XI players.
Hugo Lloris meanwhile has claimed that Spurs can still get even better, despite producing one of the season’s best team performances. The French goalkeeper plays behind the Premier League’s best defence, and that is giving Spurs a tremendous platform to push for a top four finish or maybe even more. The league is usually won by the top goalscorers, and whether Spurs have quite enough individual quality up front remains to be seen. Lloris said:
“Of course it is easier to speak after a good performance and a good win but it is too early to speak about this season. There is still a lot of games to play and we are just focusing on the start which has been very good and after the international break we need to keep going, to keep working in the same way and we will see after half the season where we will be and what our ambitions are.”
Finally, tracking data from yesterday’s match reveals Spurs ran further than any game this season, covering 118.8 km. That was four more kilometres than Manchester City, but still short of the 120.5km West Brom covered in last month’s 4-2 win over West Ham. These stats are impressive in themselves, but it was the intensity of Spurs’ running that really disturbed Guardiola’s side yesterday.
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