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Beaten Spurs' belief levels have dropped, admits Pochettino

Gent 1 Spurs 0

By Robert Jones

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has admitted his team's confidence may have taken a dip after watching them succumb to their second defeat in a week.

After Liverpool ended their 11-game unbeaten run with a 2-0 win at Anfield at the weekend, an out-of-sorts Spurs were dealt a blow in another competition when they were defeated 1-0 at Gent in the Europa League last-32 first leg.

Jeremy Perbet scored the winner for the Belgians just before the hour mark, shortly after Harry Kane had struck the outside of a post and Mousa Dembele scuffed wide when well placed.

Gent, eighth in the Belgian league, almost added a second as Danijel Milicevic's shot was tipped onto the post.

Pochettino said: "Until the Liverpool game, we were on a good run. It's true that maybe our confidence has dropped a little but this was a different competition and we tried to win the game, we tried to find the way to score goals.

"We had some clear chances to score and we are disappointed because we had a lot of opportunities, two or three very clear, before we conceded a goal.

"It's true that maybe it was not a good performance. It wasn't the best game but we created chances to try to score but we could not score."

Spurs will look to overturn the deficit in next week's second leg at Wembley.

Pochettino added: "The tie is open now.

"It's not only 90 minutes, it's two games and that was the first leg.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for us to try to put pressure on the opponent and then to demonstrate that we can win and we can play well at Wembley."

Tottenham defender Eric Dier admitted it was a strangely listless performance from his side.

"We did show more aggression than Saturday against Liverpool. I don't think we created enough chances to win," he argued.

"In the first half, they were the better of the two sides but after half-time we were better until the goal.

"It stopped us in our tracks. We could not get going again. They sat back and we could not get the away goal.

"When you go a goal down, you want to give everything to get back into the game. Maybe we were erratic at times and could have been a bit calmer and waited for our chance.

"That is something for us to work on.

"I don't see why we cannot turn it around.

"This team gave everything against us, we did that but lacked a bit of quality. At home we will be better."

Spurs have now lost back-to-back matches in the Europa League for the first time since November 2011.

Before next Thursday's second leg at Wembley, Tottenham visit Fulham in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, when Gent travel to fellow mid-table side Standard Liege in the Belgian league.

Gent: Kalinic; Gigot, Mitrovic, Asare (Gershon, 79); Mitrovic, Dejaegere, Esiti, Saief; Simon, Perbet (Coulibaly, 74), Milicevic.

Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Dier, Davies; Winks (Eriksen, 80), Wanyama, Dembele (Son, 68); Sissoko (N'Koudou, 71), Alli; Kane.

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