The Independent London Newspaper
22nd October 2018

OFF THE SHELF: Poch eyes on Premier prize

    Published: 24 November, 2016
    by DAN CARRIER

    MAURICIO Pochettino has defended Tottenham’s early exit from the Champions League following the 2-1 defeat against Monaco on Tuesday, insisting his side are on a learning curve. 

    The Spurs boss added that he did not feel his squad had sufficient strength in depth to genuinely challenge both in Europe and while making a good show of their Premier League campaign. 

    Speaking after the game, Pochettino said he felt his side were on a journey to close the gap between themselves and top Champions League clubs. 

    “I think it’s better to be in the Europa League, it will be good for the club,” he said. 

    “We are in a period where we need to improve. To play Saturday then Tuesday or Wednesday is like you play the Premier League continuously. 

    “We struggled to be ready to compete in every game. Maybe we feel bad now, disappointed, but tomorrow is another day. We need to be optimistic.” 

    In a must-win game, Pochettino pitched up a strange starting line-up against Monaco – pairing Eric Dier and Kevin Wimmer at the heart of the defence, giving Harry Winks only his second start and leaving regulars like Jan Vertonghen, Kyle Walker and Christian Eriksen on the bench.

    It sent a strong signal Pochettino wasn’t prepared to run his first XI in to the ground and sacrifice any potential title charge.

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