It wasn't the best performance this season by far, but Tottenham Hotspur got a precious away goal in a draw with Fiorentina in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 32 clash. Nacer Chadli knocked home a penalty before Federico Bernadeschi equalized in the second half.
After the match, Pochettino stated that he was happy with the way Spurs played on balance, but admitted that Spurs let their performance slip in the second half.
"Until they scored, we played much better, dominated the game and created the options and the chances. I am happy, very pleased. The effort was fantastic. After they scored, we conceded a little bit of possession of the ball and maybe we lost the control of the game. But in general, after 90 minutes, I'm happy with the performance.
The momentum in the game sometimes changes and the opponent believes more -- like after we conceded the goal. We had all the control for 60 minutes but after they scored we didn't manage the ball properly and the game changed a little bit."
Meanwhile, Fiorentina manager Paulo Sousa had the opposite view, saying that he thought his La Viola side deserved a win:
"Il Tottenham è una squadra di altissima qualità, velocità, fisicità, era difficile pressare a tutto campo. Ma abbiamo giocato in crescendo, purtroppo non abbiamo vinto in una gara in cui avremmo meritato di più.
Abbiamo dimostrato di aver voglia di competere contro ogni avversario, in ogni competizione. Purtroppo non è arrivata la vittoria, vediamo come arriviamo la prossima settimana, per rendere orgogliosi questa società, questa città e questo Paese, per dare una immagine precisa al nostro calcio... Ma sicuramente saremo competitivi anche a Londra".
Run that through Google Translate and you get, more or less, this:
"Tottenham is a very high-quality team, with speed, physicality, and it was hard to press all over the field. But we played strong, and unfortunately we did not win in a race where we deserved more.
We have shown that we want to compete against any opponent, in any competition. Unfortunately we have not reached the victory, so let's see how we get next week, to make our club, this city and this country proud, and to give a clear understanding of what our football is... Surely we will be competitive even in London."
It was a pretty ugly match and not much fun for either set of supporters, but an away goal and a draw in Italy isn't anything to scoff at. A big win would've been nice for rotation purposes, but a 1-1 draw makes Spurs the favorites now to progress after the return leg.
Spurs host Fiorentina at White Hart Lane one week from today on Thursday, February 25. The match kicks off at 3:05 p.m. ET (8:05 p.m. GMT).