Tottenham Hotspur: Mauricio Pochettino happy to come through ‘difficult game’ at APOEL Nicosia with win

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino (pic: Steven Paston/PA)

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino (pic: Steven Paston/PA) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Harry Kane hit a hat-trick for Spurs in Cyprus, but north Londoners were far from their best

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino was pleased his side came through a potentially tricky trip to APOEL Nicosia in the Champions League by taking all three points in Cyprus.

A Harry Kane hat-trick guided Spurs to success against the Cypriot champions, though the north Londoners certainly did not have things all their own way.

APOEL had plenty of chances to score, with Igor de Camargo rattling the bar before Kane put Tottenham ahead at the GSP Stadium.

In the end, though, Spurs were able to do what was required to triumph, much to the delight of their Argentinean boss.

“It was a tough game. It was a difficult game, they were very motivated,” Pochettino told BT Sport.

“I think it’s important today to get the three points. It was a must-win game and it’s so important.

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“Today there were some good performances from players who have not been playing regularly.

“Of course, the hat-trick for Harry was a fantastic performance. Today was a difficult night so it was important to win.”

Perhaps the key moment for Spurs came not from a goal, but in the 57th minute when Pochettino switched to a 4-4-2 formation.

Fernando Llorente replaced Serge Aurier to partner Kane up top, and just five minutes later the England international added the second goal of his eventual treble.

It also helped stem the flow of APOEL attacks, with the hosts having started the second half brightly, and Pochettino was happy his alterations had the desired effect.

“It was at a period when we had to press higher and try to avoid them breaking because they were starting to arrive quite easily at our box and create some chances,” he added.

“You always try to find a solution to be better and win the game. Today was positive and that is why we are happy. We recognise the effort from the squad and everyone did their best.”

Tottenham’s, and Kane’s, three goals in Cyprus came from the north Londoners’ first three shots on target, and Pochettino was thrilled with his sides’ prolificacy.

“I’m happy because sometimes in some games, you dominate and create a lot of chances, like we were against Swansea, and do not score; tonight, we were very clinical, which is good,” he said.