Belfast Telegraph

Pochettino gutted as Spurs waste chance to cut gap at summit

Sunderland 0-0 Tottenham

By Martin Hardy

Mauricio Pochettino spoke of his frustration after Spurs blew the chance to close the gap on leaders Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table following a disappointing goalless draw at the Stadium of Light.

Pochettino expressed concern that his side had played poorly in the first half for the third game running and they now remain nine points behind.

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone had only two serious saves to make on a night when Tottenham showed little of the attacking verve that had seen them win eight of their previous nine games.

They did still move ahead of rivals Arsenal on goal difference, following their loss at home to Watford, but Pochettino still cut a disappointed figure afterwards.

"It is very disappointing," he said. "In the first half we didn't play well and we were poor. We showed it's difficult to win a game and get three points in that way.

"It was a massive opportunity to reduce the gap on Chelsea and then be in second position was important for us. When you drop two points like tonight it is too difficult not to change the feeling and feel bad. That is the reality.

"Against Man City was the same. The first half was a struggle. We start the game today and it is a thing to improve, to change for the future. It is very clear that something is wrong from the beginning in the last three games.

"In the second half we were much better. We created chances to score but it wasn't enough.

"We dropped two points. We feel disappointed, not only with the result but with our performance. We competed only for 45 minutes, in the second half."

Pochettino revealed that Danny Rose, who limped off in the first half following a challenge, had twisted his knee and would be assessed today.

Black Cats boss David Moyes, who played three central defenders, said he was proud of the point his team had grabbed, despite moving five points adrift of safety.

"The players should take pride in their performances," he said. "They stuck at it defensively, we were resilient. I would like us to play much better but more importantly we made no mistakes.

"It is a start. A point against Tottenham is not a bad result. Our home form has been relatively okay for a few months. We have a lot of big games coming up at home. One point won't be enough.

"The players are giving their all. We might lack quality but for what we have got they are doing the best they can."

Spurs pushed hard at the end to make the breakthrough, full-back Kyle Walker seeing a 63rd-minute strike fly over the top with the help of a deflection off opposite number Javier Manquillo and Victor Wanyama powered a header inches over from Son's cross from the resulting corner.

Eric Dier headed just wide at the death - but Tottenham were simply unable to make the pressure tell.

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