Tottenham: Poch refuses to blame Wembley; Lloris admits it 'cannot be worse'; Dembele latest
Mauricio Pochettino refused to blame the fact Spurs are laying their Champions League home games at Wembley after his side went down 1-0 to Bayer Leverkusen. The result puts Tottenham in a difficult position in Group E and with Leverkusen hosting CSKA Moscow on matchday five, Spurs’ trip to Monaco is a must win fixture. Despite attraction crowds of more than 85,000, Pochettino’s side have lost both games at the national stadium; a situation reminiscent of Arsenal’s struggles at the old Wembley in the late 1990’s. Kevin Kampl’s 65th minute winner was enough to see them off last night, with Spurs managing just two shots on target in the entire game. Pochettino however, refused to blame circumstances and instead urged his players to look at themselves:
“It is embarrassing for me.
“After two games at Wembley, Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen, there is no excuse. We were poor and we need to find the answer in ourselves.
“We are very disappointed and we cannot show the performance that we have in recent weeks – that is the problem.”
Spurs are now without a win in six games in all competitions and have scored only one goal from open play in that time. They face Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday in the season’s first north London derby; a game that now looks increasingly daunting. Playing a team as expressive and forward-thinking as Arsenal might suit them, because they have had problems creating clear cut chances against deep lying defences. However, there were also sign against Leverkusen that they are vulnerable to high pressing and can be forced into errors in possession. Pochettino might have to consider altering his normal approach, which is to squeeze teams high and pin them back, and approach the derby in a more circumspect manner.
Elsewhere, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has admitted that Spurs ‘cannot be in a worse situation’ going into the match against their fierce rivals. The France international has been Spurs’ best performer in recent weeks; but for some heroics at the BayArena Tottenham may well have lost against Leverkusen in Germany as well. Lloris said:
“We cannot be in a worse situation. It is difficult to accept that kind of performance from us. It was difficult to recognise the team, very aggressive, very calm under pressure, and that was completely the opposite.
“We need to learn quickly because there is a big game in Sunday. The derby is always important and we need to forget about this disappointment and be ready.”
Finally, in more gloomy news for Pochettino’s side it seems that Dembele has suffered a twisted ankle. The former Fulham midfielder limped off against Leverkusen after just 30 minutes, and is unlikely to feature at the Emirates. Dembele was arguably Pochettino’s most important player last term, but has found it difficult to find any rhythm this season. Initially, he missed the opening weeks of the season due to suspension following the fracas at Stamford Bridge in May, and has missed minutes with a foot injury as well.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Diego Gaona
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