Mauricio Pochettino ‘relieved’ to still be in FA Cup after below-par showing at Newport County

Tottenham Hotspur manger Mauricio Pochettino (centre) after the full time whistle at Newport County

Tottenham Hotspur manger Mauricio Pochettino (centre) after the full time whistle at Newport County (pic: Andrew Matthews/PA Images). - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Premier League side were not at the races last weekend at Rodney Parade, but still remain in the competition thanks to an 82nd minute leveller

Spurs just about avoided a huge FA Cup upset at Newport County on Saturday with Harry Kane the saviour again with a late goal, but boss Mauricio Pochettino blasted his players afterwards.

The Argentinian couldn’t hide his disappointment when addressing the press at Rodney Parade after the 1-1 draw.

Padraig Amond put Newport in front with 38 minutes played and it took an 82nd minute equaliser from Kane to force a fourth-round replay at Wembley stadium next Wednesday (February 7).

“The key for the game was to match the motivation, desire, fight and challenge of Newport,” Pochettino said.

“But the team didn’t show really that they want to go to the next stage of the FA Cup. That is what has disappointed us a lot.

“The theory is to win trophies and it’s easy to talk about that, but I think we missed a massive opportunity to show we really want to win a trophy.

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“I hope that helps us realise that if you don’t fight in football you can not win.

“I am here five years and I hear that the FA Cup is magic when a Premier League team and a League Two plays, but if I’m honest I didn’t see much difference (between Newport and Tottenham).”

Pochettino was quite right to highlight how well the home side played on Saturday night in front of a passionate crowd of 9,836 spectators in South Wales.

Michael Flynn’s Exciles were excellent, especially in the first half, and although Tottenham Hotspur improved once Dele Alli and Heung-min Son came on, the hosts deserved a replay.

Newport will now enjoy a truly memorable evening under the arch next week, but Spurs will be confident of progressing into the fifth round.

Pochettino added: “I am relieved a lot because we were so poor, but credit to them because they were fantastic. We raised our level in the last 30 minutes, but why wait until the end to try to fight?

“If you fight from the beginning of the game I’m sure you can show with your quality that you are the best side.

“You can talk about tactics or shape, but the most important thing was to show the same or more desire as them or more motivation.

“This is not an easy game, especially if a Premier League team is not motivated as the same level as Newport, and in all these aspects they beat us.”

Additional reporting by Press Association Sport.