Mauricio Pochettino has suggested his players lack a winning mentality when it comes to defending set pieces.

Four of the last six goals Tottenham have conceded have come from set pieces, including Inter Milan’s late winner in Tuesday’s Champions League opener at the San Siro.

Watford also scored both of their goals from set pieces when they beat Spurs 2-1 before the recent international break.

And Pochettino believes Tottenham’s struggles from free-kicks and corners isn’t tactical – it’s mental.

“It’s not a tactical question because we can defend in zonal or individual, it’s more,” the Spurs boss said (via the Mirror).

“But there’s another game and that’s to have the mentality that means if you mark in your zone then I’m going to win.

“Look at the Watford game, some who played in that game are now out. Liverpool, the same. Inter, the same.

“With different types of player, different names, we suffered the same way and that’s the thing in set-pieces – the only way to be good is to be aggressive and to anticipate.

“Yes, it’s in your education, how you were taught or how brave you are, how you feel, like it’s an insult if someone beats you.

“If I’m supposed to mark someone and he touches the ball then it’s a dishonour for me. That’s how you need to feel.

“You always need to have that bravery because it’s about wanting to fight.”

Pochettino also revealed he believes his players suffered from over-confidence after beating Manchester United at Old Trafford last month.

And the Argentine says that over-confidence has contributed to a run of three successive defeats.

He added: “That was my perception and I was right. And I told them. If you watch the game again, you will find a lot of answers.

“You can create in your mind a ­reality that is not… it’s a perception and it’s not the reality, not the truth.

“It happened in a similar way at Espanyol and Southampton – we won games but when we play against teams with the same or maybe better quality than us, we always run six, seven, eight, nine, 10 kilometres more than the opponent.

“And this season… it’s not that we don’t run – we ran two kilometres more than ­Liverpool – but we need more.”

Tottenham were considered title contenders after three games of the campaign, but defeat at Brighton on Saturday would see the Londoners fall well of the pace of the Premier League’s current leaders.

Pochettino knows only three points will do at the Amex Stadium. Check out our predicted Spurs XI here.



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