September 26, 2019 / 1:27 PM / 23 days ago

Soccer-Spurs must accept criticism after slump, says Pochettino

LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur deserve to be criticised for a lacklustre start to the season which should serve as a wake-up call, manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Thursday.

Spurs, who play the Argentine’s former team Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday, dropped to seventh with eight points from six games after losing 2-1 at Leicester City last weekend. They trail leaders Liverpool by 10 points.

Pochettino’s problems were compounded on Wednesday when this side were knocked out of the League Cup in the third round by fourth-tier Colchester United and the 47-year-old said the supporters were right to be incensed.

“During my five years it has all been praise for Tottenham. Now we deserve to be criticised and we accept that,” he told reporters. “The fans are right to criticise... Sometimes critics can make you realise you need to wake up.

“You need to accept the criticism... Damage has happened that we need to fix. We are, at the moment, fixing problems to try to be better and get the results we expect. To win the games.

“We’re not so far away. Our performances are not as bad as the feeling creates. I’m sure that we are going to start to win games, we need to find the solution.”

Spurs have been guilty of squandering leads in recent games but Pochettino said most of their results have been decided by fine margins, stating that the north London side could have moved up to third place had they beaten Leicester.

Tottenham were 2-0 up at Arsenal before drawing 2-2 and 1-0 ahead away to Leicester before losing 2-1 in the Premier League, while they also had a two-goal lead at Olympiakos Piraeus in their Champions League group opener before drawing.

“In some games that we were leading like Arsenal, Leicester, Olympiakos - we didn’t keep the result we expect but the performances have been similar or better than last season,” Pochettino said.

“If we beat Leicester, where we deserved to win, (that was) three points more and we’re third in the table and all are talking about a fantastic season, fantastic performance.”

VAR controversially ruled out a Serge Aurier goal against Leicester that would have put Spurs 2-0 in front because Heung-min Son was offside by the finest of margins in the build-up.

“That is only one game. The line is so thin that can mean one or the other. Sometimes that happens in football, we’ll never give up and keep working hard,” added Pochettino. (Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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