Spurs paid the price for complacency: Pochettino

LONDON • Mauricio Pochettino said Tottenham played with their hearts rather than their heads, as their title hopes were dealt a major blow after a stunning late collapse against Wolves on Saturday.

A run of five straight Premier League victories combined with a mini-collapse from Manchester City had left Spurs in second place in the table, six points behind Liverpool going into the weekend.

Tottenham were poised to continue their winning run after taking an early lead through Harry Kane.

Instead, they found themselves trailing leaders Liverpool by nine points, after Wolves mounted a late comeback to win 3-1 at Wembley and the Reds thrashed Arsenal 5-1 in a later game.

Pochettino was unhappy with how his team responded in the second half, admitting they made the mistake of thinking the game was over when they led 1-0.

"The game was under control in the first half," the Argentinian said. "Maybe it was easier than we expected in the first half to dominate the game and to play so easy.

"But, in the second half, we started to feel maybe the game was over... When you feel the game is over, you start to decide the wrong way, start to play too many long balls and then it was difficult to recover the balls.

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    Games Mauricio Pochettino has led Tottenham, before his first loss against a promoted side.

"We played more with the heart rather than with the head and we started to spend a lot of energy and, of course, you need the energy in the end. I am very disappointed, like the players, but there is nothing to say. Now we need to move on and be sure we are ready for the next game."

Pochettino dismissed suggestions that this defeat will heighten the impression that Spurs lack the bottle to be title challengers, but he did question his team's consistency.

"I don't care about what people say," Pochettino said. "We know very well, the experience is if you are not 100 per cent in every single game in the Premier League, it can happen.

"It's not enough to play 60 or 70 minutes. You need to play 95 minutes your best.

"It can happen to us, it can happen to Wolves, to Liverpool, to Manchester City.

"That's why it's so tough to win the Premier League because you need to be consistent."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2018, with the headline 'Spurs paid the price for complacency: Pochettino'. Print Edition | Subscribe