Mauricio Pochettino said he felt disappointed after losing 1-0 to Jose Mourinho’s team at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Image shows Dele Ali in action for Tottenham Hotspur.
The English Premier League match between Spurs and United started on a balance; the former had six straight away wins while their hosts boast of a 4-match home wins.
Mourinho’s men started their home game with motivation, having lost 2-1 to low-rated Huddersfield in their previous league game while Tottenham thrashed Liverpool 4-1.
Prior to Saturday’s encounter against second-placed United, Pochettino’s men were #3 on the Premier League table. However, they showed attitude and strength against the Red Devils who grabbed a lucky win through Anthony Martial.
The Frenchman came in as a second-half substitute for Marcus Rashford at the 70th minute and scored 11 minutes later. United’s first sub was Lingard, who replaced Mkhitaryan (65) and Darmian, who went in for Young after 90 minutes. Spurs substituted Sissoko and Son for Dembele and Llorente on the 62nd minute. Their tactics and structure remained the same despite the changes, for it was a game of wits.
Rashford, Sissoko, Dele Ali and Romelu Lukaku, who later got an assist, all had their fair share of missed shots in the tensed match, but a sloppy strike from Martial won the game for United at the 81st minute.
Speaking to newsmen at a post-match conference, Pochettino said: ‘We should have been singing a new song…It was a good game, one that we could have won 1-0 if Dele had scored when he got the chance. Football is about small details and when the game is even, small, small things can change everything. That’s football and we have to accept it.’
The former Argentina international footballer continued, ‘It’s painful because we made great efforts and played a fantastic game. I feel bad for my players. It’s a difficult way to lose. We need to learn and try to improve.
‘It hurts more because the game was balanced, entertaining, and could have gone either way. I feel disappointed…and I feel proud. It was sheer bad luck that we conceded…But we have to focus on the bigger picture on Wednesday, when we have a tasking game to play.’
Ben Davies said: ‘…We’re disappointed in ourselves as much as anything. That goal is so unlike us, we don’t really concede sloppy goals like that and they didn’t have to do anything special to break us down, that’s the disappointing thing.’
Dele admitted he felt like kicking himself for missing a good chance to score, but adds that it happens sometimes in football. He got a good pass from teammate Christian Eriksen and made it against three but mistakenly touched the ball wide at close range.
‘If I had such a chance 10 times, I’d score most of the time – if not all. But that’s football,’ he lamented.
The England international continued: ‘All I could think in my head was to make contact and get the ball in the net. Then, it hit the top of my foot and went wide.
‘I’m kicking myself. I should have scored and I have to make sure the next time I get a chance like that I stick it away. It’s disappointing when you come to a place like this, you play well and you are hoping for a win or at least a draw.
‘We felt we should have won really and to go to United and think you should have won shows where we are as a team.’
Spurs will play their next two big games against Real Madrid and Palace. Their first-leg UEFA Champions League match against Los Blancos ended 1-1 a fortnight ago, and both teams will clash again on Wednesday at Wembley.
Notwithstanding the loss, Dele showed optimism and faith in his team, saying: ‘We don’t just want to compete, we want to win and as a team, we’re frustrated but now we have two big games coming up, Real Madrid and Palace so it’s important we learn from this, work on what’s gone wrong and keep building as a team because we’re still in a fantastic position and we’ve been in good form, so we can’t let this knock us back.’