Pochettino calls for killer instinct against WBA

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino has challenged Tottenham to show a more ruthless touch, as they look to keep their Premier League title hopes alive with a win against West Bromwich Albion today.

The manager admitted that his team, who lost to Arsenal last weekend but then beat Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday, have found it difficult to see off supposedly inferior opponents at Wembley this season.

Spurs dropped points in home draws with Burnley and Swansea before managing only 1-0 successes against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace at the national stadium, their temporary home this term.

Now West Brom, who sacked manager Tony Pulis following a run of just two wins in 21 league games, will surely try to frustrate the hosts once again.

"It's true we've struggled a little bit with teams that come to Wembley and play deeper," Pochettino said.

"We need to improve our positional game in (the) last third in the opposition half.

"Sometimes we need to show more patience to build our options to create chances."

After more than a year out with a hip injury, forward Erik Lamela could make his Tottenham return against West Bromwich Albion, who will be led by caretaker manager Gary Megson today. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

West Brom had proved to be problematic opponents. Spurs won this fixture 4-0 last season but the nine games before that saw them come up tops just twice, with six draws and one defeat.

West Brom had been a physical unit under Pulis, and Pochettino is not expecting anything different now that caretaker Gary Megson is picking the team.

"They work very hard on set-pieces, they're very dangerous. We need to work hard," he said. "We need to be aggressive with and without the ball.

"We need to play the game in a way that can benefit our interests."



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Off the pitch, he has also played down talk of a rift between himself and full-back Danny Rose after the England international was left out of last week's north London derby against Arsenal.

Asked to comment on reports that Rose was "fuming" about his omission, he said that the 27-year-old had not been happy but had accepted the decision.

"The day before we had a conversation and he never showed me that he was angry," he said.

"Of course, disappointed, yes, because all the players always want to be involved in the game.

"I like it when players feel that emotion because it looks like they're interested in helping the team and want to play."

Pochettino's fellow Argentinian and Spurs forward Erik Lamela could make his return today, after more than a year out with a hip injury.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2017, with the headline 'Pochettino calls for killer instinct against WBA'. Print Edition | Subscribe