Pochettino wasn’t angry. Or at least he didn’t come across that way to the media in his post-match press conference after nine-man Tottenham conceded a 90th minute Nathan Ake to lose at Bournemouth 1-0 on Saturday.
In fact, according to his public comments, he was the very personification of a Japanese shrug emoji. Spurs needed to “accept” the red cards to Son Heung-Min and Juan Foyth from match official Craig Pawson, and called Tottenham’s next two games — against Ajax in the Champions League semifinal and the final league game of the season against Everton — “finals.”
“Everyone saw the game. Everyone can have an opinion. I don’t need to explain too much. People saw what happend. It is impossible to manage everything. I think it’s cruel to play almost 45 minutes with nine men and concede but that is football. We now have two finals ahead that depend on us.
“I am not happy. When you are so good in the first half and dominate, then play 45 minutes with nine players and the man of the match was their goalkeeper. That tells you a lot. Crazy game. A mad game that you have to accept.”
“Accepting” that match is probably not something most Spurs fans are in a particular rush to do at the moment. Spurs played very well in the opening 45 minutes and were unlucky not to score, especially after Lucas Moura put a long shot from the halfway line just wide of the goal after Bournemouth’s keeper was caught off his line. But Son Heung-Min was sent off for shoving Jefferson Lerma in the first half, and Juan Foyth earned another straight red for a hard tackle two minutes after being subbed in at halftime. After that, it was just a matter of seeing if Spurs could hold on for an improbable draw.
[Extremely narrator voice] They couldn’t.
And it could have been worse — Pochettino also admitted that he made the extremely rare move (for him) of subbing off Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier at halftime because he was afraid either or both of them would earn a second yellow.
The loss means that Spurs’ path to clinching top four is now both much more complicated, and still as simple as it comes: they need to beat Everton at home on May 12. Barring that, they must rely on relatively complicated scenarios involving Arsenal, Chelesa, or Manchester United dropping points. Or they could win the Champions League, that works too.