EPL

Pochettino's highs and lows – Wretched week compounded by Brighton loss

By Sports Desk October 05, 2019

Tottenham's 3-0 defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday condemned Spurs to a second successive loss with 10 goals conceded this week, piling the pressure on manager Mauricio Pochettino. 

Spurs were demolished 7-2 in their own stadium by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday, prompting further questions of Pochettino, who continues to be linked with a departure. 

Pochettino urged his team to produce a response at Brighton, telling his players to "man up" and put things right. 

But a Brighton side inspired by 19-year-old Aaron Connolly piled on the misery at the end of a crushing week for Spurs, with Pochettino appearing increasingly defeated and deflated. 

With the manager seemingly running out of ideas, we chart the highs and lows of his time at Spurs. 

LOW – The only way is up 

Tottenham's standing compared to the other big clubs at the start of Pochettino's tenure was laid bare in the first month of the new boss' debut campaign. Liverpool were the visitors, with Spurs hoping for the chance to make something of a statement, but Brendan Rodgers' men blew them away with ease by winning 3-0. It was Spurs' first loss under Pochettino and they went on to miss out on Champions League qualification by six points that term. 


LOW – Stamford Bridge implosion hands Leicester the title 

There was no denying Spurs' vast improvement between Pochettino's first few months and 2016 as they looked to challenge for a maiden Premier League title. However, their form at the end of the season saw them come up short, squandering a 2-0 lead at Chelsea in an ill-tempered encounter to come away with a 2-2 draw, therefore securing a famous success for Leicester City. Pochettino's men finished third, 10 points off the top. 


HIGH – Bidding farewell to White Hart Lane in style 

Having seemingly established themselves as top-four regulars, Spurs looked to further consolidate their new-found status by moving to an extravagant new stadium. In their final outing at the more modest White Hart Lane in May 2017, Spurs downed Manchester United 2-1. A glamourous new era seemed to be on the horizon, with Pochettino steering the Spurs ship expertly. 


HIGH – Spurs hit 13 goals in two games 

Spurs then finished that season in remarkable fashion, crushing Leicester City 6-1 and then going one better against relegated Hull City, winning 7-1 despite both games being away from home. Harry Kane was the star on both occasions, netting four at the King Power Stadium and a treble the following week. Those victories wrapped up a second-place finish in the Premier League. 


HIGH – Manchester United crushed at Old Trafford 

In August 2018, Pochettino was among the favourites to replace an under-fire Jose Mourinho at United and he helped inflict more misery on the Red Devils and make his pitch for the job with an emphatic 3-0 win at Old Trafford. Kane and a Lucas Moura double did the damage, making it the hosts' worst start to a league season since 1992-93. 


HIGH – VAR-ty time as Llorente steers Spurs past City 

Spurs' Champions League hopes appeared to be vanishing against Manchester City in April this year when, after winning 1-0 at home, they found themselves trailing 4-2 in the 59th minute despite earlier leading 2-1 on the night. Fernando Llorente then got what proved the vital goal – the ball striking him and going in, the goal standing even after a VAR check for an apparent handball. Raheem Sterling had no such luck, however, as his stoppage-time goal was disallowed by VAR for offside against Sergio Aguero. Pochettino's men survived a bonkers encounter to reach the last four. 


HIGH – Incredible turnaround secures first Champions League final 

Somehow Spurs managed another lucky escape in the semi-finals as well. A 1-0 defeat at home to Ajax in the first leg had them looking doomed, even more so when Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech made it 3-0 on aggregate in the first half of the return fixture in Amsterdam. But a remarkable Lucas Moura hat-trick in the second half sealed a vital 3-2 win in stoppage time and left Ajax devastated. Spurs were heading to Madrid. 


LOW – An underwhelming Champions League final 

Their first Champions League final – it was an historic occasion regardless of the result. Yet, there was an air of frustration at how they approached what proved a tepid contest, with fans bemoaning an apparent lack of attacking intent as a half-fit Harry Kane struggled to make an impact. Mohamed Salah's early penalty gave Pochettino's men an uphill struggle and Divock Origi wrapped things up late on. 


LOW – Battered by Bayern, swept aside at Brighton 

The worst week of Pochettino's reign? If the 7-2 demolition by Bayern Munich at home in the Champions League wasn't bad enough on its own, the embarrassment was exacerbated by the fact an Arsenal academy product – Serge Gnabry – scored four and he certainly milked the occasion. It was the first time Spurs had ever conceded seven at home in a major competition. Despite the pressure increasing on Pochettino, no response was forthcoming on Saturday as Brighton cruised past them 3-0 at the Amex Stadium. 

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