Pochettino: Formation was a mistake, but not what killed Spurs

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Mauricio Pochettino says Spurs have no doubt they are alive heading to Amsterdam for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals, but knows he made a bad bet before the 1-0 loss at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday.

Even a master tactician and make mistakes.

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Pochettino defended with five at the back against clever, possession-based Ajax, and the Dutch side chewed up possession and scored an early goal through Donny van de Beek. From the BBC:

“Watching now of course I can accept it was a mistake the shape we used. But there were not too many options. I am not happy – you cannot guess what happens if we play in a different way. But our lack of energy… and a little sloppy. It was the not the shape that conceded the goal. Our approach to the game was not good. I am the manager so I have responsibility.”

Sure, but… Spurs were without their two best finishers, Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son. The pair have combined for 29 of Spurs’ 64 goals.

Is it just as simple as that? Maybe, but Pochettino has earned his reputation as a man with a plan. That plan didn’t work out well on Tuesday in Spurs’ biggest match in ages.