Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino urges players to bounce back quickly after Champions League exit
PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 March 2018
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The 46-year-old has backed Spurs to kick on again this weekend when they visit AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League
Mauricio Pochettino has called on Tottenham Hotspur to respond positively to their Champions League last-16 exit to Juventus.
Spurs were the better side for the first half at Wembley and the scoreline reflected that as they held a 1-0 lead, but Massimiliano Allegri’s team stunned the hosts with two goals in the space of three second-half minutes.
Gonzalo Higuain equalised for the Old Lady in the 64th minute and Paulo Dybala made it 2-1 less than 180 seconds later.
The Lilywhites pushed for a response and Harry Kane hit the post late on, but they exited the competition following a 4-3 loss on aggregate.
Pochettino said: “I am disappointed because we missed a lot of chances and of course because the team deserved more.
“The way we conceded the two goals, yes we feel disappointed, but not only me, the whole changing room because I think the performance was fantastic.
“I think it was a little bit unfair to concede these two goals. Of course, it’s tough because until this moment I think Tottenham were much better and the game was under control, but that is football.
“Now we have to keep going and now try to see the future where we have a lot of games ahead to play in two competitions and in football you cannot stop.”
Spurs will look to bounce back at AFC Bournemouth on Sunday and remain on track to qualify for the Champions League again next season.
In the past, these kind of setbacks have seen Tottenham lose focus and suffer a bit of a hangover, but Pochettino will be keen to prevent that.
He will also be desperate for his Lilywhites squad to show their maturity with a strong display at Dean Court.
“It was not a lack of experience or a lack of concentration (that cost us against Juventus),” said Pochettino.
“How many chances did we concede in the first leg and second leg? I think we conceded three chances at Wembley and they scored twice. We created a lot of chances and we only scored one.
“Okay now we need to find a lot of reasons and we can talk about different situations, but the reality is we conceded three chances and they scored twice.
“We created many, many chances and sometimes you need some luck to win, but I feel very proud. I think we competed very well against a very good team like Juventus and we dominated, and overall in the two games I think we were much better.
“But in this type of level, in three minutes, I think the tie went for Juventus, but I am so proud. I feel relaxed and happy, disappointed of course, but the quality and the capacity and the performance of the team was very good.”
In the end, it was not enough and there is no doubt the experience of the Italians paid dividends at Wembley.
The only way Spurs will get more know-how is by keeping this squad together and that is the big challenge for the club now.