Belfast Telegraph

Mauricio Pochettino not blaming players after missing chance to go top

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino refused to blame his wasteful stars after they missed the chance to go top of the Premier League.

Dele Alli scored an 89th-minute leveller to spare Spurs' blushes and earn a 1-1 draw at West Brom after Nacer Chadli's late strike against his former club looked to have given the hosts victory.

Spurs also lost Toby Alderweireld in the second half to add to their woes and he is a major doubt for Tuesday's Champions League trip to Bayer Leverkusen.

The visitors dominated the first half and Ben Foster's star show twice denied Alli and Christian Eriksen and Ben Davies.

Arsenal's 3-2 win over Swansea also dropped Spurs down to third as they remained one point behind leaders Manchester City, who drew 1-1 with Everton.

Pochettino said: "We missed the opportunity to achieve three points but in the same way it was a difficult game. When you show your skill and are much better than the opposition during 45 minutes and create five or six big chances but don't score you leave the score open.

"The Premier League is the best league in the world because it's always difficult.

"I am happy with the performance, it's true we can talk about being more clinical but the team played very well in the first half.

"It's always difficult to play here and we were a little bit unlucky but Foster too because the keeper is man of the match which you can see."

Alderweireld was carried off in the second half after a collision with Salomon Rondon and Pochettino admits the defender's injury is a worry.

Pochettino said: "With Toby we need to wait 24-48 hours. He got a heavy knock in his leg. We will see what happens, now it is very painful. We need to know the problem.

"It is very difficult (for him to go to Germany). But we don't know, we need to assess him tomorrow with a scan or whatever the doctors want to do.

"I don't know exactly what happened, it was hard for me to see from the bench. All I said was, 'How are you?' And he explained he had pain. It is a big area: knee, leg, all."

Foster kept the Baggies level before Chadli scored his fourth goal of the season with eight minutes left as he came close to punishing his former club, after leaving them for £13million in the summer, for their profligacy.

Baggies boss Tony Pulis added: " If you look at it as a whole we've got Ben to thank in the first half. I thought we still looked as though half a dozen of the players were still away on international duty.

"We never got up to the ball, we allowed Tottenham to play. They changed it as well, they were very clever in the way they did it, they stretched us and then got Eriksen and Alli in the little pockets, so that caused us a few more problems.

"I don't think Chadli will get the credit but he should. He's only got the top half of the goal to hit, a little square.

"The kid sticks it in there, a real quality finish."


From Belfast Telegraph