Tottenham Hotspur battled back from 2-0 and 3-2 down and got an injury-time winner from Son Heung-Min, narrowly defeating a plucky Wycomble Wanderers side 4-3 at White Hart Lane on Saturday. However, manager Mauricio Pochettino was super unimpressed with several of his team.
According to Dan Kilpatrick at ESPN, Pochettino warned his side that some of them were playing for their “long-term futures” at the club, and based on this match, it sounds like not all of them passed the test. Poch suggested as much in very stern post-match comments to the media.
"Full credit to Wycombe and how they played the first half. They were better than us. You know we are a team that is involved in different competitions and I think that if you sign for Tottenham, you are in the squad for Tottenham."
"If you cannot play in this type of game, then we will have a problem. Full credit to Wycombe though, they played well and found a way to create chances."
Spurs’ last-gasp win was thrilling, but masked what was a pretty anemic performance overall, and featured some bad games from Spurs players that rarely take the pitch these days. Spurs enjoyed 76% possession in the match, but were carved open defensively on numerous occasions by a Wycombe side that played physically and attempted to hit back on the counterattack.
Moussa Sissoko, Josh Onomah, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and Kevin Wimmer were, to put it mildly, not at their best against the Chairboys. Carter-Vickers had difficulty with Wycombe’s hulking striker Adebayo Akinfenwe, and gave up a penalty on a stupid challenge in the box in the first half. Sissoko showed glimpses of skill but spent much of the match dribbling into traffic. Kevin Wimmer was eventually substituted early, the second straight match where that has happened. Kieran Trippier also had a rough day, and it was compounded after he was kneed in the back in the second half. Spurs had already used all three of their substitutions and were forced to complete the comeback while down to ten men.
A brace from Son Heung-Min and goals from substitutes Dele Alli and Vincent Janssen saved Spurs’ blushes, but suggested that Pochettino may not have the confidence in his second team that he once did. Poche was extremely complimentary to Wycombe, and even said that he’s beginning to understand why England loves the FA Cup so much.
"This is the FA Cup. It was difficult for me from day one when I arrived [in England] four years ago to say, 'Oh the FA Cup is beautiful or the FA Cup is magical.' Now I realise that it's a special competition. It's the most special competition in the world. You cannot replicate the same passion in Spain, France or Italy or the atmosphere on the pitch.
"You get the small sides like of Wycombe with players from League Two who are exciting and they believe that they can beat us here. That is the important thing that the FA Cup creates, that feeling. It's fantastic. I'm very touched by it.
"They showed that they are very sad now and disappointed. We can do nothing about that. That's football. Today it was for us and maybe another day it is for them. But I wish them all the best in their league and it was a pleasure to play against a team like Wycombe."
The draw for the Fifth Round of the FA Cup will be held at 7:20 p.m. UK (2:20 pm ET) on Monday. Tottenham Hotspur will have ball #1 in the draw.