Pochettino happy with three points, but admits Dele's injury 'doesn't look great'
PUBLISHED: 21:45 20 January 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
The Spurs boss revealed his delight at Harry Winks’ brilliant late winner away to Fulham
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino heaped praise on his squad after an impressive show of character in their 2-1 away win at Fulham in the Premier League.
At half time Spurs were heading for a second consecutive defeat following Fernando Llorente’s 17th-minute own-goal, but without Harry Kane, Heung-min Son and Moussa Sissoko, they turned it around.
Dele Alli equalised four minutes into the second period, before he pulled a hamstring and needed to be withdrawn, and his replacement, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, produced a superb cross which Harry Winks finished excellently to claim a stoppage-time winner.
Pochettino said: “I am so happy with the three points. It wasn’t the best game. I think the performance was very solid and in the end we scored three goals!
“But yes so happy because in the second half we showed great character and personality. In the first half it was a little bit difficult.
“In the moment Llorente scored the own goal, we struggled a little bit from set pieces and they played long balls. I think it was difficult for us to sort that problem, but overall we dominated the game.
“Second half I am so happy and the last action, with Harry Winks, was a brilliant action. It showed the belief of not only him, but the team to keep going and to try to win until the end. That talked very highly about the squad and the team.”
With Kane out, Pochettino handed Llorente a first start in the Premier League for over a year.
The Spaniard last started a league encounter from the off away to Swansea City back on January 2 2018.
Llorente netted the opener in that contest and did the same at Craven Cottage too, but unfortunately this time he put the ball in the wrong net.
After his own-goal, the former Juventus striker tried to make amends, but failed to make the most of two exceptional opportunities – seeing one effort saved by Sergio Rico and heading another wide from close range.
When asked about Llorente’s performance, Pochettino replied: “I am happy, very happy. He fought over 90 minutes and he added to the team his characteristics and quality.
“He had a few chances to score, a little bit unlucky, and of course I think he’s now a little bit tired after 90 minutes in the Premier League, but that’s normal.”
Alli was unable to complete the whole match and his injury, like Kane’s, looks to be a serious one.
He pulled up trying to retrieve the ball and to add insult to the injury whacked into the advertising hoarding whilst doing it.
Spurs visit Chelsea on Thursday in the League Cup semi-final second leg and it seems like they will be without one of their big game players.
“We need to assess him in the next few days, but the hamstring is a muscle that you need to be careful,” Pochettino said. “Of course we need to assess in the next few days, but it doesn’t look great.”