Pochettino sees another Tottenham defeat away to mid-table Leicester. A result that could see Spurs move to seventh place after Matchday 14. Worrying indeed for title hopefuls.
The old adage that big teams win even when playing poorly, must be weighing heavy on Mauricio Pochettino’s shoulders. The Argentine manager has guided Spurs to become a top four side and contenders in Europe.
Whilst the side have proven they capable of defeating the likes of Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund, inconsistent league results have blighted recent efforts.
It was a similar story on Tuesday, when Spurs travelled to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City.
Leicester, who sported new manager Claude Puel, came out and pressed high from the whistle, were 2-0 up by half-time. Marc Albrighton’s pass was met by Jamie Vardy, who volleyed the ball deftly over goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, and into the top corner.
Leicester tightened up defensively, as Spurs found their feet. Kasper Schmeichel saving them from an equaliser within five minutes. Kane laid on Moussa Sissoko, whose shot found the legs of Schmeichel. He made a similar save against Dele Alli soon after. Whilst Tottenham managed a couple more efforts, the finish was just not there.
Just before half-time, Claude Puel’s side had netted a second. Riyad Mahrez skilfully curled a perfect left footed ball into the net. Spurs now had three steps climb to gain three points.
After the break, Tottenham chased hard for the the equalizer. Enjoying most of the posession, they put more pressure on the home side. Christian Eriksen had a clear shot just six yards out, but swept it just wide.
That was the deciding factor for Mauricio Pochettino, as off form Eriksen was replaced by the long lost Erik Lamela.
True to form, he made an immediate impact on the game, in just 27 seconds,he found the space to play a perfect ball down the right into the path of Harry Kane, who shot hard into the bottom of the net. Spurs had woken up.
Spurs’ substitute Fernando Llorente could have levelled the game a few minutes later. Serge Aurier drove a cross in right to his feet only for him to lift it over the bar just a few yards out.
Heavily defending their lead, Leicester stifled Spurs who just couldn’t finish. A penalty request from Danny Rose saw the end of the Tottenham fight back. Leicester had sealed the three points.
For Claude Puel and the Foxes, it’s three points that sees them ease away from the relegation zone.
For Tottenham, it’s a worrying result that again showed the absence of Toby Alderweireld. A clear defensive factor, with the option of Victor Wanyama still void, the defence has seen sloppy leaks of late.
With League ties against Watford and Manchester City imminent, there can be no more points lost for Pochettino and his young side, in the merciless race for the top four.
Claude Puel praised his side’s defensive organization. He spoke to BBC Sport of the importance of team morale.
“It [being in the top half] is not crucial for the moment, it is important to take the points. We were a bit frustrated about our game with Stoke and West Ham [which both finished in draws] because we had opportunities to score more. This is better because it is good for the confidence of the players for the future,”
Tottenham Manager Mauricio Pochettino expressed his disappointment at his side’s growing habit of poor starts.
“We did not play in the way we normally play. The first half was a poor performance and it was difficult after that to get back into the game. We feel very disappointed in our performance. We started the game not in the right way and we conceded the opportunity to them to score. At 2-0 down it is difficult. We need to improve the way we start. It happened against West Brom and Borussia Dortmund.”
"I’ve just got to keep my feet on the ground and keep working hard." ?
— Leicester City (@LCFC) November 29, 2017
What now for Leicester?
Leicester City have won the Premier League Title. Their unscrupulous board are not known for their patience for managers, Puel will be under pressure from the start. He will be delighted that a win over Tottenham is under his belt.
Once a mid-placed club, that Premier League win has instilled the need to be a constant challenge, proving wrong the doubters that circumstance helped hand them their crown. They still have highly skilled players. Vardy and Mahrez have shown they can perform against the league’s top sides.
Another Tottenham Defeat
Tottenham it could be said were more dependant than the home side for the three points. Following the loss to Arsenal and poor show against West Brom, have probably seen their Premier League title challenge ebb away. It was another Tottenham defeat
Having proven are now a top four side, they have again given away points that should have been gained. Though Leicester came out for the Tottenham defeat, needless points lost to Swansea and West Brom, make those given away at the King Power Stadium more painful.
Though flying high in the Champions League at present, club and fans know that only winning it will see them in it next season, if the North Londoners fail to make the top four.