Wednesday 22 November 2017

Red faces for Tottenham as Pochettino plan backfires

Gent 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino

Matt Law

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino really does have a dilemma on his hands after his plan to try to kill off Gent in the first leg of their last-32 Europa League clash backfired.

A strong Spurs side were meant to virtually put the tie to bed and then put their feet up and get some much-needed rest next week when Gent visit Wembley.

But it all went wrong for Spurs as a Jeremy Perbet goal was enough to give the Belgians a valuable lead.

On this evidence, Pochettino might be better to send out the reserves for the second leg because Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Co failed to get out of first gear in the city in which Tour de France-winning cyclist Bradley Wiggins was born.

Knocked out of the Champions League in embarrassing fashion, Spurs are in real danger of enduring another European nightmare in a competition for which they were meant to be too good.

Tottenham's first-team players had told Pochettino that they wanted the chance to right the wrongs of Saturday's Liverpool defeat by starting in Gent, despite the club's busy fixture list.

Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko in action with Gent's Anderson Esiti. Photo: Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters
Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko in action with Gent's Anderson Esiti. Photo: Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters

So, while Liverpool relaxed in La Manga, Pochettino reacted to the players' plea by only making two changes, bringing in Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko. He must be regretting that now.

Spurs started sluggishly, with the hosts fashioning a series of chances. Just as the visitors were finally getting to grips with the match, they were hit by a sucker punch on the hour mark.

Gent sprung the offside trap and following a cross from Danijel Milicevic, Perbert scored at the second attempt, having scuffed his first touch. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Gent's Samuel Gigot celebrates after the game with Brecht Dejaegere. Photo: Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters
Gent's Samuel Gigot celebrates after the game with Brecht Dejaegere. Photo: Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters

Telegraph.co.uk

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