Champions League

Pochettino fumes at passionless Spurs

2016-09-15 11:15
Mauricio Pochettino (Getty Images)

London - Mauricio Pochettino accused his Tottenham flops of lacking passion after Monaco ruined their record-breaking night at Wembley with a 2-1 win in the Champions League.

Pochettino was hoping his side would mark their return to the Champions League after a five-year absence with a dominant display in front of an English club record attendance of 85 011.

But the north Londoners slumped to a lacklustre loss as goals from Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar handed the points to the French league leaders in the Group E opener.

Pochettino couldn't hide his frustration at Tottenham's below-par performance and the Argentine coach questioned his players' desire, as well as lambasting their sloppy defensive efforts.

"We need to show more hunger and passion. We showed a lack of passion today a little bit because we cannot concede that first goal," Pochettino said.

"We need to be more aggressive when we have chances to score. That is what we said in the changing room.

"It was a fantastic opportunity. We waited a long time to be in the Champions League and we fight a lot last season to be in it. The feeling is why didn't we do more?

"We need to show more hunger on the pitch. We need to show a different image than we showed in the first half."

Despite the record-breaking display from their fans, Tottenham never looked comfortable in their unfamiliar surroundings following the club's decision to move their European games to Wembley while White Hart Lane is being redeveloped.

But Pochettino refused to use that as an excuse and insisted his team had only themselves to blame.

NO EXCUSES

"No, that is to put an excuse. Football is on the pitch. We need to improve and learn we cannot concede a goal like that first one," Pochettino said when asked about the Wembley factor.

"We concede a goal that you cannot concede at this level when you play for Tottenham. "Not only the first but also the second. It's difficult to accept."

Pochettino hauled off Son Heung-Min at half-time after he missed an early golden opportunity to put Tottenham ahead, but he claimed he hadn't put all the blame on the South Korea midfielder because he would liked to have made more widespread changes.

"I was clear with my players but it is not basketball when you can change the whole team," he said.

"We created more chances, more corners and had more possession than Monaco but they were more effective than us."

Monaco's impressive display maintained their superb start to the season and boss Leonardo Jardim rubbed salt into Tottenham's wounds by claiming his team benefitted from the decision to switch the match to Wembley.

Wembley has a larger pitch than White Hart Lane, leading Jardim to claim the wide-open spaces had negated Tottenham's usual high-tempo pressing game.

"Tactically because it's a larger pitch it might have affected them negatively. On a larger pitch it's harder to close people down because there is more space," he said.

"In terms of tactics and how we set up we were determined to stop Tottenham in their transitions.

"They are strong there and we did a good job in that area."

Even though Tottenham got one back through Toby Alderweireld before half-time, Monaco comfortably kept the hosts at bay in the second half.

"It's always a blow when someone scores right on half-time," Jardim added.

"I was sad at half-time but I said to the players if you had said we were going to be winning 2-1 at half-time I would have taken that."

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Fixtures
28 September 2016
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Barcelona, Borussia-Park 20:45
Celtic v Manchester City, Celtic Park 20:45
Arsenal v FC Basel, Emirates Stadium 20:45
FC Rostov v PSV, Olimp-2 Stadium 20:45
Napoli v Benfica, San Paolo 20:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Paris Saint-Germain, Vasil Levski National Stadium 20:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Bayern München, Vicente Calderon 20:45
Besiktas v Dynamo Kyiv, Vodafone Arena 20:45
18 October 2016
CSKA Moscow v Monaco, Arena CSKA 20:45
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Tottenham Hotspur, BayArena 20:45
Sporting Lisbon v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Jose Alvalade 20:45
Club Brugge v FC Porto, Jan Breydelstadion 20:45
Leicester City v FC København, King Power Stadium 20:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Sevilla, Maksimir 20:45
Lyon v Juventus, Parc OL 20:45
Real Madrid v Legia Warsaw, Santiago Bernabeu 20:45
19 October 2016
FC Bayern München v PSV, Allianz Arena 20:45
Barcelona v Manchester City, Camp Nou 20:45
Celtic v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Celtic Park 20:45
Arsenal v Ludogorets Razgrad, Emirates Stadium 20:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Benfica, Kiev Olympic Stadium 20:45
FC Rostov v Atlético de Madrid, Olimp-2 Stadium 20:45
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Basel, Parc des Princes 20:45
Napoli v Besiktas, San Paolo 20:45
01 November 2016
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
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