English Premiership

Pochettino hails battling Spurs

2015-01-15 07:54
Mauricio Pochettino (Supplied)
Mauricio Pochettino (Supplied)

London - Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino saluted his players' spirit after they roared back from two goals down to reach the FA Cup fourth round with a 4-2 win over Burnley.

Pochettino's side were in danger of a surprise exit when Burnley scored twice in the first eight minutes of Wednesday's third-round replay at White Hart Lane.

But those goals from Marvin Sordell and Ross Wallace were cancelled out by Tottenham midfielders Paulinho and Etienne Capoue before half-time.

Vlad Chiriches headed Spurs in front early in the second half and Danny Rose netted soon after to seal a victory that booked a fourth-round home tie against Leicester later in January.

Tottenham's superb recovery was exactly what Pochettino needed after his team's disappointing Premier League defeat at struggling Crystal Palace last weekend and the Argentine was quick to show his gratitude for their spirited efforts.

"I'm happy because we showed our character to go through," he said.

"It's difficult to explain the start, you need to be focused and maybe for the first goal we were not.

"But after 2-0 down we fixed something from a tactical point of view and if we take these first 10 minutes out then we deserved to go to the next round.

"The most important thing was how the team came back into the game. We showed character and faith to come back and get into the fourth round.

"It is very important for us to do well in this competition.

"It's very important after we lost the opportunity to move up the table on Saturday.

"It's important for the confidence because today different players had the opportunity to play and show they can fight for the team."

Tottenham's successful fightback meant Pochettino was able to take a relaxed tone when asked about the continued struggles of Spanish striker Roberto Soldado.

Soldado has endured a miserable 18 months with Spurs and his lack of form and confidence was painfully clear to see when he somehow contrived to hit the bar from close-range in the first half.

That could have proved a costly miss as Spurs were still trailing at the time, yet Pochettino, rather than further erode his player's morale by dwelling on the miss, chose to accentuate the positive and praised the Spaniard's work rate.

"It is always a tough period when a striker doesn't score but I'm very happy with his performance," Pochettino said.

"In football you don't need to apologise. I think he deserved a goal.

"For the me the most important thing is he always fights and tries to do his best.

"His attitude is perfect. In football when you try hard every day, always the reward arrives."

After squandering their blistering start with a series of sloppy defensive mistakes, Burnley can now focus on trying to avoid relegation from the top flight.

Clarets boss Sean Dyche was unhappy with his side's defending and acknowledged they could have few complaints about the result.

"I don't know if we let it get away because Spurs are still a very good side even when they make changes," Dyche said.

"But when you are 2-0 up and make the mistakes we made it is going to be very tough. It was a game of mistakes for us. I was a little bit cross at half-time.

"The details really hurt us tonight. The mistakes we made for the first two goals, you can't get away with them at this level.

"We have learnt that this season and have mostly got better at avoiding them to be fair.

"We know the errors we made. It is unusual. Maybe it was the changes we made, but we will talk it through with the lads."


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