Pochettino amid Tottenham’s slump: ‘My players are heroes’

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LIVERPOOL — Mauricio Pochettino was very, very happy with his Tottenham players despite their 2-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday.

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Watching on from the stands at Anfield as he served the final match of his two-game ban, Pochettino shrugged off a fourth defeat in their last five Premier League games which has seen Spurs collapse from title contenders to just one point from being outside the top four.

Speaking after the game, Pochettino was keen to stress that Spurs are punching above their weight and pointed to the resources Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has compared to him.

“It was bad luck. Always bad luck. Many situations that happen in an action. Football is about being right in many actions. That is football,” Pochettino said. “You accept that sometimes things happen, like an offensive player misses an opportunity, like a midfielder misses a pass, a centre-back sometimes does not defend well and sometimes the keeper you know, that is football and you have to accept that. You know I was so disappointed after Southampton because we showed in the wrong way our arrogance. Today that is the arrogance I want to see in the team, like in the second half with our superiority. We were laughing a little bit because more than £100m in two midfielders, Keita and Fabinho on the bench, and you go and play and you are better and dominate.”

In a season where they’ve played away from home unexpectedly, failed to sign a single new player and had some key injuries to deal with, Spurs have hung in there admirably. Against Liverpool they dominated the second half and had plenty of chances to secure the win they deserved.

Pochettino is keen to keep confidence levels high ahead of a huge few weeks in the PL and the UEFA Champions League last eight against Manchester City. If Spurs put up a good fight against City and finish in the top four, this season will have been a huge success.

With their debut in the new stadium to finally come on Wednesday against Crystal Palace, an exciting new era will begin at Spurs.

But Pochettino knows they are still overachieving, and will be happy whatever happens.

“It’s a little bit of a shame that we’re not there fighting as well. We were but in the last few weeks we have started to find our reality, our place,” Pochettino said. “Disappointed but knowing and being realistic. We must be happy. We have a mini-league now. Seven games and it’s in our hands to be in the top four and the Champions League next season. Still we are in the quarter-finals and we are going to fight against Manchester City to try to be in the semifinals.”