Em­bar­rassed Po­chet­tino blames play­ers, not Wem­b­ley, for loss

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

MAURI­CIO PO­CHET­TINO said his Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur play­ers must take a hard look in the mir­ror rather than blame un­fa­mil­iar Wem­b­ley Sta­dium sur­round­ings for a se­cond “em­bar­rass­ing” home Cham­pi­ons League de­feat yes­ter­day.

A 1-0 loss to Bayer Lev­erkusen means Tot­ten­ham have been beaten in both Group E games at their cav­ernous adopted home and their hopes of reach­ing the last 16 hang by a thread.

Kevin Kampl’s se­cond-half goal pun­ished Tot­ten­ham for a shoddy dis­play bereft of spark and took the north Lon­don’s club los­ing streak at the na­tional sta­dium to six matches stretch­ing back to a League Cup vic­tory over Chelsea in 2008.

Po­chet­tino, how­ever, said there was no point re­gret­ting the club’s de­ci­sion to shift Cham­pi­ons League home games to Wem­b­ley from their White Hart Lane ground which has a re­duced ca­pac­ity be­cause of build­ing work.

“Tell me a place that’s bet­ter to play than here?,” Po­chet­tino, whose side lost 21 to Monaco in their open­ing group game, told re­porters. “It’s im­pos­si­ble to find an­other ground bet­ter than Wem­b­ley.

“We don’t have the free­dom to play and show real qual­ity. After two games at Wem­b­ley, both have been poor. It is not an ex­cuse, it is the truth.

“The prob­lem is here in­side us. The prob­lem is not Wem­b­ley. We had 85,000 peo­ple here sup­port­ing us and it’s shame. It’s em­bar­rass­ing for me. We need to show more. “We were the prob­lem tonight not Wem­b­ley.” Tot­ten­ham, who slipped to third be­hind Lev­erkusen in Group E, have now gone six matches with­out a win in all com­pe­ti­tions since a su­perb vic­tory over Pre­mier League lead­ers Manch­ester City. Their dis­plays dur­ing a spate of League draws have been rea­son­able, if lack­ing pen­e­tra­tion in the ab­sence of in­jured striker Harry Kane, but yes­ter­day’s per­for­mance was well be­low the stan­dards the man­ager ex­pects. “We have to be crit­i­cal and look in the mir­ror and say we have to im­prove,” Po­chet­tino, whose side face an in-form Ar­se­nal on Sun­day, said. “We have to find the an­swer in­side of us.

“The first game against Monaco you could say it was an ac­ci­dent be­cause ev­ery­thing was new but this se­cond one some­thing wrong hap­pened.”

Yes­ter­day’s at­ten­dance of 85,512 was a new record for a Bri­tish club in the Cham­pi­ons League and Tot­ten­ham’s fi­nal group fix­ture against CSKA Moscow is al­ready sold out.

Fail­ure to beat Monaco away in their next game, though, would ren­der that clash ir­rel­e­vant.

“We need to im­prove and change some things. We are in a bad mo­ment. After (beat­ing) Manch­ester City (at the start of Oc­to­ber) we don’t win and we need to be crit­i­cal and find an­swers,” Po­chet­tino said. – Reuters

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