Mauricio Pochettino has said there is “no shame” in losing to Lionel Messi after Barcelona’s talisman put in a performance of the highest quality against Tottenham.
Messi scored twice as Barcelona ran out 4-2 winners in the Champions League group game at Wembley.
An early Hugo Lloris mistake allowed Philippe Coutinho to open the scoring, and Ivan Rakitic’s brilliant strike doubled the visitors’ lead before half-time.
Spurs were much better in the second half. Harry Kane managed to pull one back, but two Messi goals – either side of another consolation from Erik Lamela – sealed the points for Barcelona.
After the game, Pochettino explained the defeat by suggesting Messi was the only difference between the sides.
“We didn’t lose to a team called FC Barcelona, we lost to a man called Lionel Messi,” said the Tottenham boss (via @ForcaBarcaEN). “And there is no shame in losing to such a great man.”
According to @SpursOfficial, he later added: “In the second half I think the team believed, were brave and were always in the game. If we want to compete we need to improve, but I feel very proud.”
Spurs now face an uphill battle to progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League after Inter Milan won at PSV Eindhoven – both Barcelona and Inter already have six points from two games.
The Londoners will likely have to beat PSV twice and get something against Inter at Wembley if they are to make through the group stage.