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Why Mauricio Pochettino must take responsibility for Tottenham’s defeat to Inter Milan

Ben Winfield
ANALYST
Feature
557   //    19 Sep 2018, 21:38 IST

FC Internazionale v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League Group B
Pochettino saw his side beaten 2-1 at the hands of Inter Milan

Last night, Tottenham got their Champions League campaign underway with a 2-1 defeat to Inter Milan at the San Siro. Tottenham went ahead through Christian Eriksen midway through the second half, but late goals from Mauro Icardi and Matias Vecino turned the game in the Italian side’s favour. 

This was an awful way for Tottenham to start their Champions League group. With Barcelona also in their group, the likelihood is that they will be battling it out with Inter for second place, and this result puts them firmly on the back foot. 

The main issue for Tottenham was that they had the better of that game, and were in control, pretty much until the final five minutes, when Inter struck back, and nicked the three points.

The issue for Tottenham is that this isn’t the first time that this has happened. Earlier this season, they let slip a 1-0 lead away at Watford. On that occasion, they conceded two goals from set pieces, and lost their 100% winning record in the Premier League.

This result however was most similar to their defeat to Juventus in the Round of 16 in the Champions League last season, where they dominated the game, but fell asleep for five minutes, during which Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala scored the goals to knock Spurs out. 

For Tottenham, lessons haven’t been learned, and Pochettino doesn’t seem to have learned from those games either. With a 1-0 lead, that would have been an excellent result for Tottenham, he should have shut up shop, and bought on someone like Victor Wanyama to sure things up in the centre of the park.

Instead, Pochettino left his players out there playing attacking football, and leaving far too many gaps at the back, from one of which Inter equalised. There has to be a stage in a match where you have to accept you need to win ugly, but Pochettino just doesn’t seem to have got that.

The Argentinian manager also left both Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld at home for the match, and that looks like a mistake. The fact is, he has rested players for the Champions League, so that they can play in the Premier League, where in truth, Tottenham’s aim is to qualify for the Champions League. There is no real end goal, and their lack of transfer business in the summer hasn’t really helped. 

It's all well and good that Pochettino lost his rag with the press after the game, but he has to do better if people are really going to listen to what he says.

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One of the main issues for Tottenham is that they are now being run as a business. Their main aim is to finish in the Champions League spots, and every year they get no closer to winning a trophy. 

There needs to be some form of understanding between the Tottenham hierarchy and the management, over what they are looking to achieve, as currently, despite having so many good young players, they just seem to be drifting slightly.

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