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Tottenham v Gent: Pochettino calling on his Spurs to come out all guns blazing

By Tom Allnutt

Mauricio Pochettino says he will know within 50 seconds whether Tottenham can pull off a comeback against Gent tonight.

Spurs host Gent at Wembley in the Europa League looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit from their dismal display in the first leg in Belgium last week.

A 3-0 thrashing of Fulham in the FA Cup on Sunday saw Spurs back at full pelt, but inconsistency has been a regular feature of their form in recent weeks.

They have won three out of their last seven in all competitions and Pochettino believes his side set the tone at the start.

He said: "When we start a game, if you only watch 50 seconds, you don't need to be a genius to know we may struggle.

"In that moment it's too difficult to change. We changed the formation at half-time to try and lift them but it was impossible.

"The problem is when you start in a bad way, it's too difficult to change that perception and then you give a very good signal to the opponent that you are not focused. You need to change that mentality."

Crashing out of the Europa League would come as a bigger blow to Spurs than in previous seasons, given they have a chance of winning the competition and appear unlikely to catch Chelsea in the Premier League.

Spurs have not won a European trophy since 1984 - or any silverware since the League Cup in 2008 - but Pochettino says there is no shortcut.

"We cannot buy time," Pochettino said. "You never know in football, but in a short period you cannot do it - only if you have money enough to buy the best players in the world. Then you don't need much time.

"But the process we are in, and with our philosophy, we need time. We are showing a good basis but now it's time to develop the winning mentality."

They must also find a winning mentality at Wembley, where two home defeats all but ended their hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stages.

Harry Kane believes the atmosphere is even better than at White Hart Lane.

"White Hart Lane is smaller and the crowd are on top of you. We have a great atmosphere there," Kane said. "But at Wembley it is even better. Hopefully we can use it to our advantage."

Youngsters Marcus Edwards and Kyle Walker-Peters both trained with the first team yesterday, though Pochettino is not expected to make many changes.

Erik Lamela has begun running again as he continues his recovery from a hip problem but Danny Rose remains "a number of weeks away from full training".

Belfast Telegraph


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