Mauricio Pochettino was in somewhat of a fatalistic mood after his Tottenham Hotspur side, down to ten men, conceded a late goal to Luuk De Jong and drew 2-2 with PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Spurs, who were obviously the better side on the day and should’ve come away with the three points, keeping their slim hopes of escaping from their Champions League group alive.
But in the post-match press conference, Pochettino basically admitted that his team didn’t deserve to advance from their group.
“It wasn’t enough. I told you before if you didn’t win this type of game it’s so difficult to deserve to qualify in the Champions League. Today was a game we completely dominated but we needed to be more aggressive and score more than twice.
“Of course you always can concede but we had the chances. When the game was open you can always concede. That was what happened. It is not so difficult to judge or analyse this game. That’s what happened, it was the reality and the reality was on the pitch.
“We didn’t deserve it. Now is not the time to find someone to blame like the referee or the decision. If you deserve and cannot win this type of game it’s so difficult to go ahead. Maybe we can qualify but in the end it will be difficult when the opponent will be tougher than the one we played today.”
It would be easy to lay the result at the feet of Hugo Lloris, who was sent off after rushing out to contest a ball. But Pochettino defended his club captain, saying that Hugo didn’t need to apologize to his teammates or to him for the play that put Spurs down to ten men.
“No [he shouldn’t apologize], why? No, no, no, no. One day when I was very young one manager said to me you don’t need to apologise after I made a big mistake, because only the player on the pitch can make a mistake. If I am sitting here, sitting in the dugout, it’s difficult to make a mistake. Football is about making mistakes. But in that case it wasn’t a mistake, it was an action that happens a lot in football and is a sending-off. Hugo doesn’t need to apologise to myself or the team. It is an action that happens often and sometimes football is like this.”
Despite everything, Spurs are still not mathematically eliminated from the Champions League. They’ll essentially need to win all their remaining games — home to PSV and Inter and at Barcelona — a very Lloyd Christmas chance, but still a chance. Spurs’ next Champions League match is the return fixture against PSV at Wembley Stadium on November 6.