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Spurs 2-2 KAA Gent (agg 2-3) - Mauricio's reaction

23 February 2017|Tottenham Hotspur

Mauricio Pochettino could only speak of his pride as we just fell short in the Europa League against KAA Gent having played with 10 men for an hour.

Trailing 1-0 from last week’s first leg in Belgium, we started brightly and quickly levelled the tie through Christian Eriksen.

But things took a turn for the worse from there as KAA Gent levelled somewhat fortuitously via Harry Kane’s own goal on 20 minutes and we were then reduced to 10 men when Dele Alli was sent off for a foul on Brecht Dejaegere six minutes before the break. A man down, we needed two goals.

You would never have known we were down to 10 men, however, as we dominated the second half and the comeback looked on when Victor Wanyama hit a screamer to retake the lead and level on aggregate on the hour.

Below: Mauricio speaks to Spurs TV at Wembley


It wasn’t to be though as KAA Gent mustered a rare attack on the counter and had players queuing up in the box for Kalifa Coulibaly’s cross, converted by Jeremy Perbet. It stayed 2-2 on the night and we went out 3-2 on aggregate.

Mauricio pointed to last week’s loss as the key over the two legs. “After the sending off I thought we were brave and I’m happy with the performance in the second half,” he said.

“We dominated, scored to make it 2-1 but it’s true, when you take risks when you need another goal you give the possibility to the counter-attack and when they they scored, the game was over.

“I’m very proud of the performance and it’s just a shame we didn’t play well in the first leg.”

Did you think we’d do it when Victor Wanyama scored?
Mauricio “Yes, of course, in that moment I believed maybe we could turn the tide. It’s about trying to improve as a group and as a team and not giving the possibilities we gave to them in the first leg. You can then play better in the second leg but sometimes in football you pay for the first game.”

Below: Victor Wanyama fires home for 2-1 on the night


We played with 10 men for just short of an hour yet had 25 shots to KAA Gent’s five, that shows how much we gave in that second half…
Mauricio: “We created a lot of chances to score. We played with the right attitude in the right way and it’s a shame we’re now going out of the competition.”

What have you said to Dele?
Mauricio: “It’s difficult, he’s very sad now and disappointed about the action. He knows he made a mistake and that’s football, it happens.”