Spurs boss laments lack of maturity

Angelo Ogbonna celebrating with Aaron Cresswell after putting West Ham 3-2 up against Tottenham. His goal turned out to be the winner in the League Cup fourth-round clash at Wembley, as the hosts lost concentration.
Angelo Ogbonna celebrating with Aaron Cresswell after putting West Ham 3-2 up against Tottenham. His goal turned out to be the winner in the League Cup fourth-round clash at Wembley, as the hosts lost concentration.PHOTO: REUTERS

West Ham roar back to ease pressure on Bilic, who wants 2nd-half show to set 'a standard'

LONDON • Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino warned his side against complacency again after the hosts gave up a 2-0 lead to lose 2-3 to West Ham in the English League Cup on Wednesday.

Spurs looked to be heading into the quarter-finals following first-half goals from Moussa Sissoko and Dele Alli. But Slaven Bilic's men turned the tie around with an Andre Ayew brace and a match-winning strike from Angelo Ogbonna.

Pochettino said: "We scored two goals and it looked like the game was over but we showed a lack of aggression and conceded three in 15 minutes.

"That can't happen. When you are not on the same mental level, it is difficult. The opponents had nothing to lose, they started to believe and we started to suffer.

"Maybe we thought the job was done. The second half was not the same and it is difficult to accept."

The Argentinian also suggested that his players underestimated their Premier League opponents after a 1-1 draw at Real Madrid in the Champions League and a 4-1 league win over Liverpool.

"After Real Madrid and Liverpool, it was difficult to keep the motivation and concentration," he added. "We must be more mature at 2-0 up, that is disappointing."

  • 13

    Tottenham Hotspur blew a two-goal lead at home for the first time in over 13 years. In February 2004, they led Manchester City 3-0 but lost the FA Cup fourth-round tie 3-4.

For his opposite number, however, there was more than just relief.

Under-fire Bilic, who went into the game stating this is a "do-or-die" week, will be hoping the Hammers will build on their Cup heroics when they travel to Crystal Palace tomorrow.

The Croat promised that the second-half performance - when they scored three times in 15 minutes - would provide "a standard" for the league game at Selhurst Park.

West Ham are level with 18th-placed Everton on eight points after nine league matches.

"Wins give you energy and they give you freshness," he said.

"Now tomorrow at training there will be no long faces, nobody's going to feel tired because of this result, especially in such a good game."

Asked what he had said to his players at half-time, he said he told one of his strikers to be "braver" and to work harder.

"This should be the standard from us in terms of competitiveness, team play and fighting for the team," he added. "Some games you will lose but I am quite positive now. We improved a lot and we should use this as a standard from here."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2017, with the headline 'Spurs boss laments lack of maturity'. Print Edition | Subscribe