Wednesday 22 January 2020

United's shock defeat to the MK Dons has us on our toes - Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino was happy to see his Tottenham forward men running free and rampant against QPR
Mauricio Pochettino was happy to see his Tottenham forward men running free and rampant against QPR

Mauricio Pochettino was in Milton Keynes to see Manchester United's Capital One Cup humbling first-hand - a result the Tottenham manager hopes will keep his players from getting complacent when they look to reach the Europa League group stage tonight.

The football world was rocked on Tuesday by the manner in which Louis van Gaal's side capitulated against unfancied MK Dons.

The 4-0 defeat to the League One outfit was easily one of the most humiliating defeats in United's proud history and one which Spurs boss Pochettino was there to witness.

The former Argentina international was understandably taken aback by the result and hopes it will sharpen the focus of his players, who this evening take on AEL Limassol in the Europa League play-offs boasting a 2-1 lead from last week's first leg in Cyprus.

"I think it is a different game than what we played in Larnaca against Limassol," Pochettino said. "We need to be focused and ready.

"I believe that it will be a tough game because all games are difficult.

"On Tuesday it was difficult for Manchester United and you need to be focused on your objective.

"Now we need a very good performance to beat Limassol and because we need to stay in the next round.

"I watched the game in Milton Keynes live. I was there. It was difficult but it's a good example to be ready.

"We got a good result in Larnaca but we need to ready and focused on the game."

On the eve of the match Pochettino signed a player that won the competition with Sevilla last season, Federico Fazio.

The 27-year-old penned a four-year deal upon his reported £8million move to White Hart Lane, where he will fill the void left by club captain Michael Dawson's move to Hull.

They too offer the former England international the chance to play in this season's Europa League, if they can progress to the group stage tonight.

Dawson is ineligible to make his bow in the second leg against Lokeren, who arrive at the KC Stadium with a 1-0 advantage from last week's first leg in Belgium.

"It's quite simple, we've got to win the match and we're capable of that, no matter what line-up I pick, we're capable of winning the game," Hull boss Steve Bruce said.

"We know that we'd love to be in the next stages; to get in the group stages would be terrific for the club, we're aware of that. We're also aware of how difficult it is with all the pitfalls that come with it.

"We'll be going all out to try and get a result and get us through to the league situation which we'd all look forward to."

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