Spurs’ Champions League campaign is nearly over, says Mauricio Pochettino

• Spurs manager laments failure to make PSV pay
• ‘We only have one point. It will be very difficult’

Mauricio Pochettino said Tottenham do not deserve to qualify for the Champions League knockout rounds after they failed to translate a dominant performance at PSV into victory.

Spurs were 2-1 up and coasting only to lose Hugo Lloris to a 79th-minute red card after a charge outside his area and foul on Hirving Lozano. The 10 men would concede a late equaliser to Luuk de Jong to leave the Spurs manager admitting it was “nearly over” in terms of progress from the group. His team have taken only one point from their first three games.

Pochettino was unhappy at the decision to show a straight red card to Lloris while the Slovenian referee, Slavko Vincic, also disallowed a first‑half Davinson Sánchez effort for offside against Harry Kane. The Spurs striker did not look to be interfering with play.

But Pochettino said his team only had themselves to blame. He lamented their lack of clinical edge in front of goal and how they took their foot off the pace in the closing stages, suddenly slowing the tempo and losing their aggression up front.

“If you don’t win this type of game it’s difficult to deserve to qualify,” Pochettino said. We completely dominated and we had the chances to kill the game. We need to be more aggressive and score more than two because you can always concede when the result is tight.

“It’s not difficult to analyse the game. That’s the reality. We didn’t deserve [it]. We didn’t force it and that’s why our feeling is so bad. It was under control, we were playing well and the PSV fans were disappointed. But we played to keep possession [towards the end] and not to be aggressive in the last third.

“In football you cannot allow your opponent the time to be alive. If you do, you pay. When you play so much better and dominate the game and create the best chances, if you cannot kill the game and it’s open, you can concede.”

Pochettino refused to blame Lloris and he preferred to complain about the decision to dismiss him. “In my opinion, no [it was not a red card] but we can’t blame the referee. Why should Hugo apologise? No. One day, when I was young, I made a big mistake and my manager said to me: ‘You don’t need to apologise.’ Only those on the pitch can make a mistake. Anyway, it wasn’t a mistake – it was an action and a sending-off. It can happen in football.”

Tottenham finish their Group B campaign with the return against PSV at Wembley, another home tie against Internazionale and a trip to Barcelona. “It is nearly over,” Pochettino said. “We only have one point. It will be very difficult. We need to win the three games we have to play and also have some results that help us.”

The midfielder Christian Eriksen said: “It feels like a defeat. We should have finished the game off with all the chances we created. A few mistakes led to their equaliser. The referee didn’t want to give us a goal, it was a proper goal [by Sánchez]. I know Harry wasn’t offside. Everything went against us. With the referee today, anything could have happened. It went against us but we should have finished the game off – we made it difficult for ourselves.

“There are not many games to play in the Champions Leagueand we threw it away. We played good football but if you can’t finish the game off then every game is going to be really tough. It was a must-win and we didn’t get the win. Our hopes of qualification are very far off.”


David Hytner in Eindhoven

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