Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino didn’t mince words in the wake of Spurs’ 2-1 home loss to Monaco today in the Champions League. Today’s match was Tottenham’s first in the Champions League in six years, and a despite a record-breaking home crowd of 85,000 at Wembley Stadium, they weren’t able to snatch a result.
Pochettino was pragmatic but disappointed in his post-match comments, reported on Spurs’ official Twitter account.
Mauricio: "You pay when you make mistakes & we paid. They only had two shots and like to counter. We created chances but weren't clinical."— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 14, 2016
"We must learn & improve. Today was a fantastic day to share with our fans but I feel very disappointed. We need to look at ourselves & criticize ourselves because it was our mistakes. We need to be more aggressive in front of goal."
"It's only the first game but we need to improve and fast. We need to play with more hunger and passion."
Pochettino probably has the right to feel a little hard done. Despite playing pretty well over the course of the match and dominating play, especially in the second half, Spurs weren’t able to grab that second goal and conceded two pretty poor early goals. Dele Alli went close a number of times, and Harry Kane had a few good looks on goal as well. In fact, the scoreline was especially deceptive, as Michael Caley’s xG numbers illustrated.
xG map for Tottenham-Monaco. Not Spurs' best match, but a tough result on the balance of play anyway. pic.twitter.com/LfxN67IYAS— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) September 14, 2016
Despite the loss, it wasn’t all bad news for Tottenham. Spurs’ other two opponents in Group E, Bayer Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow, battled to a 2-2 draw in Germany today, meaning that Spurs aren’t in as deep a hole as they might have been. However, the margin of error has now disappeared. Spurs now are in the situation where traveling to Moscow and getting a result against the Russian champions in their next match on September 27 would go a long way towards their chances of progressing out of the group. A difficult match to be sure, but not impossible by any stretch.