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Spurs have to learn to tighten up: Pochettino

 

Happy days: Olympiakos’ Daniel Podence celebrates after scoring
Happy days: Olympiakos’ Daniel Podence celebrates after scoring

By Jonathan Veal

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino accepts his side have some hard work to do to cure their defensive woes after shipping a two-goal lead in the Champions League at Olympiakos.

Spurs, who reached last season's final, looked on course to open this term's campaign with a win in Greece after Harry Kane and Lucas Moura struck in the space of four first-half minutes to put them in command.

But just over a fortnight after letting a similar advantage slip against Arsenal, they again capitulated as goals from Daniel Podence and Mathieu Valbuena earned the Greek side a deserved 2-2 draw.

Tottenham's season so far has been beset by an uncharacteristic weakness in defence and Pochettino is determined to put that right.

"In the beginning of this season we are conceding a lot of chances and lots of goals, and we need to change that," the Argentinian said.

"The only way we can change is being more demanding from ourselves, and that is the way we are going to approach the different days and be more consistent.

"Training needs to be harder, psychologically harder.

"I feel very disappointed, in the first half I wasn't happy with our performance, from the beginning we had a plan and we didn't respect the plan, that is what disappointed me most and that is what I told the players at half-time.

"We scored two goals, from the penalty and a good goal from Lucas, but if you only analyse the performance it wasn't great, we conceded a lot of chances to Olympiakos, the way we conceded the first goal was so painful."

Spurs looked back to their best against Crystal Palace on Saturday, but they were unable to reproduce that in one of Europe's most hostile atmospheres in the Greek capital.

They endured a torrid opening 20 minutes and could have been behind by the time Kane smashed home his 15th Champions League goal in 20 games from the penalty spot.

Moura's powerful drive from the edge of the area put Spurs in control before Podence's goal on the stroke of half-time allowed Olympiakos back into it.

Valbuena completed the comeback with a 53rd-minute penalty to leave Spurs licking their wounds.

"We didn't translate from Saturday that aggressiveness that this level of game demands and that is my biggest disappointment," Pochettino added.

"It's everyone's responsibility and it's not possible for, in three days, how we start the game today to be a massive difference. That is my disappointment. I feel disappointed for everyone.

"At half-time we realised it and changed it, and in the second half we were a little bit better and we conceded a very soft penalty.

"We created many chances to score, we dominated the second half.

"Overall, I thought the result was fair."

Olympiakos coach Pedro Martins was happy his side were able to come back from a sticky situation, but was left wanting more. He said: "We dominated the game. We had more chances, but we paid for two mistakes. We reacted well.

"Our reaction was more than positive and we were better.

"Tomorrow critics will say Tottenham didn't play very well, but Olympiakos did play well.

"The draw is good because we came back from 2-0, but at the end we could do better."

Olympiakos: Malheiro de Sa, Elabdellaoui, Borges Semedo, Meriah, Tsimikas, Dos Santos Torres, Bouchalakis, Masouras (Randjelovic 78), Valbuena (Benzia 69), Castelo Podence, Guerrero (El-Arabi 89).

Subs not used: Camara, Allain, Papadopoulos, Torosidis.

Tottenham: Lloris, D Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks, Ndombele (Sissoko 62), Moura (Lamela 76), Eriksen, Alli (Son Heung-Min 73), Kane.

Subs not used: Wanyama, Dier, Walker-Peters, Gazzaniga.

Man of the match: Moura

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)

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