Football: Spurs' slump a pressing problem for Pochettino

Football: Spurs' slump a pressing problem for Pochettino
Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino.

LONDON - Mauricio Pochettino said time was not on his side if he was to turn round Tottenham Hotspur's fortunes after a defeat by Stoke left the club in the bottom half of the English Premier League.

Sunday's 2-1 loss was Spurs's fourth defeat in six home league matches and manager Pochettino, who left Southampton in pre-season only for the Saints to now be second in the English top-flight, could be forgiven for wishing he'd stayed with the south coast side.

As it is, the Argentinian's record over the opening 11 games of this season with Tottenham is significantly worse than that achieved by former Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas at the same stage last season.

The Portuguese's side collected 20 points while Pochettino's team have mustered just 14.

Although Pochettino's position is not under immediate threat, the fact Villas-Boas, his full-time predecessor at White Hart Lane prior to the caretaker reign of Tim Sherwood, was sacked by mid-December serves as a reminder of the high turnover-rate among recent Tottenham managers.

"It's clear we need to improve a lot," said Pochettino. "Always in football you need time, different methods and philosophy but we need to improve quickly.

"In football you never have time, a long time - you need to take a result.

"We need to find a solution very quickly and in the next few weeks." Pochettino added his team felt under growing scrutiny from increasingly unhappy fans at White Hart Lane, who on Sunday saw their side fall behind to first-half goals from Bojan Krkic and Jonathan Walters before Nacer Chadli pulled one back 13 minutes from time.

"Maybe it is true after we concede the first goal we feel this pressure," said Pochettino.

"When you play in our way we want to play, you need to feel confidence on the pitch because it's important to create space, to have patience in possession of the ball.

"It's true when we conceded a goal we started to take rash decisions, and felt uncomfortable in possession of the ball." While Chadli's goal gave Spurs hope of a draw, that all but evaporated with the 85th-minute red card shown to defender Kyle Naughton for tripping Stoke's Victor Moses.

"The players know my feelings like I know their feelings," said Pochettino. "We are here for four months, we know the players and the players know me.

"We feel the same, very disappointed and frustrated and not happy because our performance was not good enough."

Buoyant Bojan

Stoke overcame first-half injuries to Marc Wilson and Phil Bardsley with Wilson's hamstring problem likely to keep him out of the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 qualifier with Scotland next week.

But for Stoke boss Mark Hughes there were plenty of positives, with the performance of Krkic - like his manager a former Barcelona forward - receiving particular praise "We are really pleased that he (Bojan) is finally coming to the fore," said Hughes, whose side are now ninth heading into the international break.

"He started off like a house on fire when he first joined us in pre-season and people got a little bit carried away too early because I think we all felt it was going to take time to adjust.

"I played him in the first two games and he found it difficult to have an impact but he has bided his time and I have just stared to re-introduce him now," explained Hughes.

"He has had the benefit of three or four months training at the intensity he needs to and he looks a very accomplished player again.

"We are going to benefit from his ability and his goal-scoring because he is a good talent when he gets in good areas of the field.

"He hits shots off early and its difficult for keepers to react early enough and he will score goals for us this year," Hughes added.

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