Pochettino happy with Tottenham’s performance, but disappointed with defeat

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane goes to ground from a challenge by Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane goes to ground from a challenge by Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson during the Premier League match at Wembley Stadium (pic: Nick Potts/PA Images). - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Spurs conceded early against Manchester City, but Argentinian Pochettino was impressed with their response

Mauricio Pochettino praised the display of his Spurs team after watching them lose narrowly at home to Premier League champions Manchester City on Monday night.

The Lilywhites produced a valiant performance against Pep Guardiola’s men, but a number of missed opportunities saw Tottenham Hotspur suffer a third defeat of the domestic campaign.

Riyad Mahrez netted after five minutes to give City the upper-hand, but the hosts hit back and should have scored through one of Harry Kane or Erik Lamela while both Moussa Sissoko and Kieran Trippier failed to make the most of excellent openings.

It left Pochettino, 46, with mixed emotions, he said: “I think the effort we made was fantastic. We were very competitive, it was an even game and I think we created a lot of chances.

“Last season, it was difficult to compete against Man City in both games that we played, in Manchester (4-1 defeat) and here (3-1 loss), the gap and the level was massive between both teams, but this was a very competitive, even game.

“Yes a little bit lucky because when they made a mistake, we didn’t score and they scored in one action, so I’m disappointed because of the result, but happy with the performance.”

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Tottenham could take plenty of pride from the display, especially with Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Heung-min Son all starting on the bench.

Moussa Sissoko, a surprise inclusion from the off, arguably justified his opportunity with an energetic display which caused City problems, even if he lacked the desired quality in the final third.

A big frustration from the match, however, was the slow start to both halves, which is turning into a real problem for Pochettino.

In the 4-2 loss to Barcelona, Spurs were behind after two minutes and many other big games have seen Tottenham concede early goals or big chances.

This game was no different with City scoring after six minutes and they missed a good opportunity after the restart too.

Pochettino said: “I think when you watch the action you can find the answer (to why Spurs keep starting slowly in big games).

“You can prepare everything, you can work and then some accident can happen in football and you concede.

“Against Barcelona, it was similar and now it was again, but you cannot control this type of situation that goes against you and the team.

“For me, the most important thing is the team had the mentality to go forward, to try to fight against the situation.

“I think the quality was good, not enough to win, but of course the team fought a lot and was so competitive in a game that wasn’t easy to play.”