Pochettino: Lloris error, not Messi performance, led to Spurs loss
Mauricio Pochettino dismissed the notion that two-goal hero Lionel Messi dismantled Tottenham, the Spurs boss instead lamenting Hugo Lloris' early mistake against Barcelona in their Champions League defeat.
Messi earned the plaudits with a brace as LaLiga holders Barcelona overcame a depleted Tottenham side 4-2 at Wembley in London on Wednesday.
Spurs were always on the back foot after a Lloris error helped gift Barca the lead just 92 seconds into the game – Messi initially capitalising on some poor defending – before a stunning Ivan Rakitic volley doubled the advantage in the first half.
Tottenham refused to surrender as Harry Kane pulled a goal back but Messi took centre stage in the second half, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner finding the bottom corner of the net – having hit the post twice – before the superstar swept home a second during the closing stages after Erik Lamela struck for Spurs.
While acknowledging Messi's quality, manager Pochettino felt his goalkeeper's error led to Tottenham's second consecutive loss in Group B.
"If you watch football and understand it, you will know how hard is to come out of the dressing room and find yourself 1-0 down so early," Pochettino said.
"It's so difficult after this for the team to feel confident to play. It's so tough. When you play at this level you can't concede these type of chances.
"When you concede in less than two minutes, it changes completely everything. The emotion becomes tough when you are playing against Barcelona and players like Messi and [Luis] Suarez."
"We didn't concede one chance to Messi in the first half. In the second half, he had more space and that is difficult to stop," added Pochettino. "If you watch the first half again, how many chances did he have? Not one. In the second half, with a lot of space, it is unbelievable how he runs.
"Come on, move on, because in the first half we concede in the first minutes. We played with the handicap of conceding after one minute.
"Our players were heroes because they were chasing the game against Messi, Suarez, Coutinho and Co. Lucas Moura could have equalised. Then you would have said 'we are heroes and the manager is the best in the world'."
Mauricio: "In the second half I think the team believed, were brave and were always in the game. If we want to compete we need to improve, but I feel very proud." pic.twitter.com/uGz85d5DBI— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 3, 2018
Tottenham have collected zero points from their opening two Champions League fixtures this season, with Barca and Inter both on six.
"We still need to play four games and we have in our hands to be or not in the next stage," Pochettino said. "It will be tough because we've got to win games. Still thinking the same though that all is possible."