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Spurs boss welcomes fans’ criticism

Mauricio Pochettino says he ‘understands reaction’ after Lucas Moura was taken off in Champions League tie – and thanks supporters for going to Wembley

08 November, 2018 — By Steve Barnett

Mauricio Pochettino: ‘Maybe if it was me in the stand I should be the same’

SPURS boss Mauricio Pochettino spoke of his special relationship with the fans after hearing boos rain down on him from the stands during the must-win Champions League tie against PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday night.

Supporters were not best pleased when the Argentine subbed fleet-footed Brazilian star Lucas Moura with 30 minutes remaining on the clock at Wembley.

Pochettino, who has become a cult figure for turning the team into Premier League title contenders, has rarely faced the wrath of the Tottenham faithful, but replacing Moura with Erik Lamela when the north Londoners needed a goal proved far from a popular choice.

“I like it because after nearly five years I think it’s the first time that they’ve been critical of me and didn’t agree with me, but in the end the score was 2-1,” said Pochettino, who could afford a post-match smile after his changes worked out.

“I understand their reaction. Maybe if it was me in the stand I should be the same but, for me, only I can tell the fans thank you, because coming again to Wembley, supporting the team and making the effort, we cannot ask for more.

“It’s always difficult to take decisions and the fans can be disappointed. They want to play with nine or 10 strikers when you are losing the game. But we tried to find solutions, to find a different way to play.

“Sometimes people say ‘Oh, Pochettino doesn’t have a Plan B or a Plan C’, but the most important thing was to have a plan, and then, like against PSV, it was good to have a different way to approach the game and to score goals.”

Meanwhile, Spurs travel to Crystal Palace for a late kick-off on Saturday, and will have to do so without a raft of first-team players. Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen, Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier are all on the treatment table and will miss the 5.30pm start at Selhurst Park.

But, despite often being accused of lacking any real depth, Pochettino’s squad has now won three games in under a week, prompting the boss to praise his players.

He added: “We played a lot in eight days. The team is growing up. We have the character of never giving up, which is so important.”

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