Mauricio Pochettino gave a post-mortem in his press conference on Thursday following Tottenham’s recent defeats to Liverpool and Inter Milan.
Spurs have suffered three successive defeats for the first time under Pochettino, and concerns have been raised over the team’s overall performance since beating Manchester United at Old Trafford last month.
The Londoners were sloppy in possession against Liverpool. There was a slight improvement in the Inter game, but Pochettino’s men somehow surrendered their lead with just four minutes remaining.
And the Tottenham boss thinks he knows why those defeats came about.
“I think maybe having in front of us players like [Mohamed] Salah and [Roberto] Firmino, we respected them too much,” Pochettino said (via ESPN).
“But maybe [against Inter] because we didn’t know [Matteo] Politano and [Mauro] Icardi, we didn’t feel that pressure that we felt against Liverpool.
“Probably we felt more the scenario or who we were playing against with Liverpool than Inter. It’s something [former Argentina international Jorge] Valdano has said in the past.
“Liverpool allowed us to play from the beginning – they never pressed us so high – but we were so slow moving the ball [out of defence].
“The difference is Inter provoked and forced us to play quick because they pressed so high, and we made some mistakes of course, but always the team tried, tried, tried. I think it was an amazing example of building from the back.
“Against Inter we were so good at moving the ball from the back, finding a very good pace and putting our offensive players in very good situations, but then we reduced the pace! That was the difference between the two games.
“We played so many long balls against Liverpool. How many long balls against Inter Milan? If we’d played against Liverpool as we did against Inter, be sure the result would be completely different.”
Harry Kane’s form has been particularly worrying, but Pochettino has defended his striker and insisted the goals will start to flow again soon – read more about those quotes here.
West Ham United captain Mark Noble has also asked Kane’s critics to “give him a break” following a gruelling summer with England at the World Cup – go here for those quotes.
Spurs travel to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday knowing only three points will do. Check out our predicted XI here.