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Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino frustrated to concede so early at Premier League leaders Manchester City

PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 December 2017

Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan scores his side's first goal of the game during their Premier League match with Tottenham Hotspur.  (pic: Martin Rickett/PA Images).

Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan scores his side's first goal of the game during their Premier League match with Tottenham Hotspur. (pic: Martin Rickett/PA Images).

PA Wire/PA Images

The Lilywhites conceded three times in the second half at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, but the real damage was done in the 14th minute

There was a lot to be disappointed about following Tottenham Hotspur’s 4-1 defeat away to runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City, but the opening goal for the hosts caused Mauricio Pochettino the most pain.

Spurs conceded from another corner, the third time they’ve done so in their last four league games, with only 14 minutes played when Ilkay Gundogan headed home.

It was an uphill battle from then and although the Lilywhites held out until the 70th minute, Kevin de Bruyne fittingly made it 2-0 with a rasping drive to cap his stunning display and Raheem Sterling grabbed a double before Christian Eriksen’s consolation.

When reflecting on the opener, Pochettino said: “It was our mistake. In this type of game, if you want to win you need to be focused and concentrate and when you concede this type of goal, and then all that happens in the game, it’s difficult to accept. It changed completely the idea.”

He continued: “We’re disappointed, but in the same way, you need to accept that the better team won and I think the positive is that we try always.

“The problem was that we conceded from the beginning of the game, a very poor goal and when you play against a team like Manchester City, that is in unbelievable form, you cannot - after 15 minutes - concede a goal that you concede.

“After that you need to take risks, you need to work for a while, you need to try again to be in the game, but of course they have a lot of quality and can punish you.”

City certainly made Spurs pay and Saturday proved to be a reality check for everyone associated with the north London club.

Pochettino, however, felt Tottenham could take something from the thrashing at the Etihad Stadium – an example of the heights the N17 club need to reach.

He said: “The better team won. They are in very good form and showed why they are the best in the Premier League.

Yes, 4-1 is a result where you are so disappointed – and you can say nothing positive, because that is the mentality in football.

“But for me, it is to take some positive, about the unbelievable experience for the team, and to realise to play for the Premier League we need to improve, learn and work harder than before.”

Additional reporting by PA.

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