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Pochettino wants Tottenham to raise the bar

Asteras 1-2 Tottenham

By Mark Bryans

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino again spoke of the need for his players to show more defensive resilience after a nervy win against Asteras Tripolis.

The north Londoners moved to within a win of the Europa League knockout stages after condemning the Greeks to a first ever home defeat in continental competition.

Up until half-time it had looked like a scoreline similar to the 5-1 win of a fortnight ago was on the cards, with Andros Townsend and Harry Kane turning Spurs' possession into goals.

However, Pochettino's side almost undid that good work with a shocking, error-riddled second half in which Asteras had 14 efforts of differing quality.

The hosts managed to find the net late on through Jeronimo Barrales, scoring from the spot after a foul which saw Federico Fazio sent off - but Spurs held out for a 2-1 win.

"I think that during the first half we were better than Asteras," Pochettino said after the Group C clash. "We played well during some moments and scored two goals.

"After half-time, they started well and created one chance very early. We had some chances to score the third goal but in football it's difficult because Asteras start to play and to be confident in the game.

"They created some chances and at the end with the Fazio penalty and him being sent off, it made it difficult in the last four or five minutes - but we are happy.

"We came to get the three points, the result is good and I am happy."

Pochettino was surprisingly calm and upbeat given his side's second-half collapse. Put to him that he was surprisingly chipper, he said: "Asteras didn't score at the beginning of the second half. It is a different game (than Newcastle).

"We need to improve in different aspects of the game. I think we played very well but the second half was different and we need to review the game and improve."

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