CamdenNewJournal

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Spurs are caught cold at Anfield

Two goals in two minutes make it a miserable night on Merseyside for Pochettino's men

11 February, 2017 — By Allan Ledward

Mauricio Pochettino: ‘It’s difficult to fight for the Premier League if you show that performance’

Premier League
LIVERPOOL 2, SPURS 0

SPURS boss Mauricio Pochettino admitted his side failed to match Liverpool’s “aggression” as they went down to a deflating 2-0 defeat at Anfield this evening.

Two first-half goals in two minutes from Sadio Mane – exploiting large gaps in the Spurs defence – secured what was the home side’s first Premier League win of 2017.

“It’s difficult to explain. I’ll try to assess why [we lost] – but the reality is that they were better than us,” said Pochettino.

As Spurs’ high-line defence wobbled, Mane was sent clear to open the scoring after 16 minutes. Two minutes later a dithering Eric Dier lost the ball near the halfway line and Mane eventually smashed it into the net in front of Spurs’ stunned travelling fans.

Against a team that knows how to leak goals, the visitors rarely tested the Liverpool defence. Jurgen Klopp’s men looked more dynamic from the start as Spurs froze – a repeat of last month’s first-half performance at Man City, on a similarly chilly night in the North West.

Heung-Min Son should have dragged Spurs back into the game after 25 minutes, firing at Simon Mignolet in front of the Kop, and Harry Kane hit the post after the break, but the craft of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen was outdone by that of Philippe Coutinho and even Adam Lallana.

Spurs finally started to scrap for the ball after the break, but looked increasingly frustrated as they failed to impose themselves on the game as it fizzled out.

“After 2-0, we had some chances,” added Pochettino. “There was a 1-v-1 for Son against the keeper. But, to be honest, we didn’t deserve too much.

“It’s difficult to fight for the Premier League if you show that performance. But lack of aggression and desire to play for the win… Liverpool were very aggressive after they had struggled for weeks.

“We never coped with the tempo of the game. They pushed us to play poorly… they deserve the credit for how they played tonight.

“We are second, I think, in the table, one point above Liverpool. It’s true that my feeling now [about the title] is not so good. We need to recover after that defeat. We need to fight now.

“We need to be clever, and try to assess why [we lost], and try to improve our game from the beginning, not wait until after 20 minutes to start to play.”

SPURS: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Son (Janssen, 82), Kane, Wanyama, Dier, Dembele (Sissoko, 77), Alli, Eriksen (Winks, 68), Davies.
Attendance: 53,159

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