Belfast Telegraph

Pochettino tells Spurs to focus on the future

By Robert Jones

The managers of Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City spoke of the need to regroup after their sides were dumped out of the FA Cup by supposedly inferior teams.

Mauricio Pochettino, the Spurs boss, must ensure his side refocus before Wednesday night's League Cup semi-final second leg, having lost at home in the FA Cup to the Premier League's bottom club.

Meanwhile his counterpart at Swansea, Garry Monk, remains hopeful his side's season won't "fizzle out" after they lost to Blackburn Rovers.

Pochettino, who made nine changes from the side which beat Sheffield United in the League Cup last week for the 2-1 loss to Leicester, said: "It is important to keep our motivation and confidence, because we need to play on Wednesday with our best performance, it will be a really tough game."

Goalkeeper Michel Vorm was to blame for Jeffrey Schlupp's last-minute winning goalwinner for Leicester and he too spoke of the need to look forward.

"I am gutted now, but you have to go on because there is another big game ahead on Wednesday and we have to focus on that as quickly as possible," the Dutchman said.

"If that mistake happens earlier in the game, maybe you can turn it around, but at the end makes it even worse. When the ball goes in, it is horrible, but that is football."

Swansea, meanwhile are in mid-table in the Premier League with 30 points, with little chance of relegation and an equally slim hope of landing a European spot. An FA Cup run could have provided some excitement to the second half of the season.

Their 3-1 loss to Rovers at Ewood Park, which they ended with nine men, was the third consecutive game in which they have failed to win, but Monk said: "The season won't fizzle out, I'll make sure of that. It's my job. Anyone who knows me, the players that know me, will know I won't accept that and the players won't accept that."

"I said to the players afterwards that it's important we stick together. All teams have had difficult moments this season and this could be ours, but we'll come through it no problem."

Sunderland were forced to perform a little self-analysis after their insipid 0-0 draw against Fulham, during which they were booed by their own fans. Jermain Defoe, whom manager Gus Poyet is still trying to work into the team in a new 3-5-2 formation, said the stalemate against the Championship side could prove to be a "turning point" before their Premier League match against fellow strugglers Burnley.

Defoe said: "There are moments in the season where you have turning points and the Burnley game is one of them, so it's an important week for us. The idea now is to first analyse the two games, Tottenham and this one, check really well if it's the way we want to go forward. We need to win."

Jordan Henderson, the Liverpool vice-captain, was relieved his side remained in the competition after their 0-0 draw against Bolton, especially as they played directly after Chelsea and Tottenham werehad been knocked out.

Henderson said: "It was obviously a big shock for City, Chelsea and Tottenham to go out but the main thing is we are still in the competition, The results came on the tannoy and one or two players might have heard, but at the same time we just focused on what we needed to do.

"We've seen it for many years, lower-league teams have beaten Premier League teams and Saturday was no different, but we showed good character to not lose the game, that's the main thing."

Belfast Telegraph


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