Spurs boss happy but wants team to 'kill games'

Tottenham's English defender Eric Dier scoring past Cardiff's Philippine goalkeeper Neil Etheridge for the only goal of the game at Wembley Stadium.
Tottenham's English defender Eric Dier scoring past Cardiff's Philippine goalkeeper Neil Etheridge for the only goal of the game at Wembley Stadium.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino had warned his players not to be complacent before yesterday's 1-0 win over Cardiff, and to treat the Welsh side as if they were Barcelona.

Following the midweek 4-2 loss to the Spanish giants - their second straight defeat in the Champions League - the Argentinian knows that perhaps his team are better off focusing on the English Premier League title race.

And, despite having up to five key players out injured, it did not take long for Spurs to show their ambition at their Wembley home after midfielder Eric Dier scored after eight minutes.

That goal proved to be enough as Cardiff do not have a Lionel Messi to conjure up magic, and an equaliser was unlikely to materialise after being down to 10 men.

Midfielder Joe Ralls was sent off in the 58th minute for a cynical foul on Spurs forward Lucas Moura, and Neil Warnock's men were resigned to staying in the relegation zone.

Pochettino, though, was happy with his team's rebound.

"I am happy, the effort was fantastic and it wasn't easy after the defeat by Barcelona," the 46-year-old said. "But, being honest, we need to improve a lot. We need to kill the games and have more control. We need to be calm. When you're at home, you must control the game."

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But he was satisfied enough to make a joke about South Korean forward Son Heung-min, who has not scored in 18 games for the club.

"I'm still waiting for my present after letting him go to win the Asian Games. It's karma, I think," Pochettino said.

Spurs moved to third in the league on 18 points - one fewer than Manchester City and Liverpool before their top-of-the-table clash, and one more than Chelsea, who travel to Southampton today.

"It's good to get three points before the international break," said Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld.

"Cardiff defended well and were organised but, if we were a bit more clinical, we could have scored more goals."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 07, 2018, with the headline 'Spurs boss happy but wants team to 'kill games''. Print Edition | Subscribe