Mauricio Pochettino expressed frustration with his side’s first half performance in their 1-1 draw at Everton today at Goodison Park, but in post-match comments to the press he said that, on the whole, he was pleased with the way his team reacted in a hostile stadium.
If we see only the second half, then maybe [I’d be disappointed]. In the first half we had a lack of energy. At the beginning, they scored early and then it was a difficult game to manage for us.
I think in the first 45 minutes we showed a lack of energy and they were better. But in the second half... If you only watched the second half I think the team deserved more. We played in the way we wanted to play, at a high tempo.
I’m disappointed with the first half, but with the second half I’m happy, and we need to work hard to be ready for the next game.
Spurs were much better in the second half, especially after striker Vincent Janssen came on for Eric Dier. Spurs spent more time in Everton’s attacking third, scored an equalizing goal from Erik Lamela, and had a number of good chances to snatch another one.
"At half-time I told them that we had made a lot of mistakes, and if you cannot play in possession and create chances you will not get anywhere. But in the second half there was a lot more energy and we always had different options and ways to play.
"We had a lot of players involved in the Euros so it is difficult to be fit and ready, but we can take a lot of positives from today.
"I was tough with them but all the managers do that when you are not happy. It is normal. We were very close to winning the game."
It’s easy to throw up your hands and chalk this draw up to “another Spursy performance” but I think that’s reductive. The first match of the season is almost never a pretty affair. That said Everton were specifically set up to frustrate Spurs in attack, shut down attacking lanes, and quickly hit back when possible through Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu. And for the majority of the match, it worked perfectly.
While nobody should to give a pass to Spurs for the way they came out flat in the first half, Pochettino did make an effective (if odd at the time) substitute by bringing in Janssen, and there’s no question that Spurs were the better team in the second half.
Spurs will probably want to re-examine their midfield before next weekend’s home opener against Crystal Palace (we’ll have a more detailed look at this later). They’ll also really want to work on how to break down a bunkered opponent, since they will very likely be facing a lot of them this season. But if Poche is more or less satisfied with the second half today, who am I to argue?