Mauricio Pochettino didn’t mince words about Tottenham Hotspur’s performance in their 2-0 loss to Chelsea on Wednesday, but he didn’t throw the team under the bus either. Instead, the Spurs manager talked about his disappointment with the result and said the team is now focused on Saturday’s North London Derby against Arsenal.
“I think it wasn’t a great game. I was disappointed because it was another defeat, but we need to be sure we are ready for Saturday, and another tough London derby against Arsenal. It’s going to be tough.
“For me, when your performance is not good enough it’s always because of us. Of course, the opponent did their job, but they only had one shot on target too. We didn’t shoot... well we did have shots but we had a lot of shots blocked, always, but it wasn’t a great game to watch. Of course I am very disappointed, but we need to look forward and move on.”
It was the first time all season that Spurs have played a full match without registering a shot on target. That’s in no small part down to Chelsea, who registered 13 blocks on the night; it seemed like there was constantly a blue player in front of the ball anytime Spurs tried to do something.
Otherwise, it was a fairly even match, as Michael Caley’s xG model showed.
xG map for Chelsea - Tottenham. The Blues took their best chance, Spurs didn't, and with the way both teams approached the match that was all there was. (Except for Trippier...) pic.twitter.com/Yp4AuKjMtc— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 27, 2019
According to Pochettino, it’s not that Spurs played particularly poorly in extremely difficult circumstances, it’s that they didn’t compete at the level that he knows that they can. But now all it’s all about the North London Derby on Saturday, which is now significantly more important and is a true “six pointer.”
“You know, Chelsea is a difficult place to play, as history shows. I think we won last season here [for the first time in] 27 years. Today we competed. We didn’t compete at maybe our best. We didn’t show the quality we have, for different reasons. We are in a period now that looks like it started a few days ago against Burnley because before that, against Dortmund, the team were getting a lot of praise.
“But two games in a few days, two defeats, and very disappointed. But now it’s about being calm. It won’t change my assessment of the players. We need to support them, prepare them and lift them and help them to compete on Saturday because that is the most important thing now.”