EPL

Pochettino feels Spurs' thrashing of Palace proves squad had lost focus

By Sports Desk September 14, 2019

Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham's 4-0 thumping of Crystal Palace was proof his squad were previously "unsettled".

Spurs made an unconvincing start to the season prior to the international break but put on a show at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.

Son Heung-min scored twice, either side of an own goal from Patrick van Aanholt, and Erik Lamela rounded off the rout before the break.

Pochettino issued a rallying cry to his team when addressing the media earlier this week, after close-season disruption that saw Christian Eriksen, Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama, Serge Aurier and Danny Rose all linked with moves and rumblings over the futures of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.

However, the European transfer window passed with none of the supposed wantaway stars leaving and Pochettino showed a hint of frustration, while expressing relief the focus is now on the pitch.

"I think it [thrashing Palace] showed that the team was unsettled [before]. When the team is unsettled, when the squad is unsettled, it is so difficult to perform in the way you want to perform," Pochettino said. 

"I'm not complaining or blaming anyone. The focus wasn't on playing football and it wasn't on trying to improve. The focus wasn't on the places we wanted it and it's not easy to perform that way.

"Of course we have quality, enough to win games without focus, but when you are focused it showed, in that first half the performance of the team ... the intensity, the concentration.

"We know what we need to do and when you are able to do that, the quality we have appears. We have tremendous quality in our squad, unbelievable players. If we show that intensity in all our games, for sure we are going to fight for big things."

Aurier has struggled to nail down a starting spot since arriving from Paris Saint-Germain in August 2017 and only made his first start of the campaign against Palace despite the sale of fellow right-back Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid.

The Ivory Coast full-back impressed against the Eagles, but Pochettino says it is on Aurier and his team-mates to show more consistency.

"He's very happy, we were very happy too, I think the performance was great. First half was fantastic, his concentration and focus," Pochettino added.

"Now he needs to show and be consistent. It's not only one game and the second game the focus and intensity start to drop.

"That is the key in our team, not only him but all the players. All the players need to be consistent and understand that every time we are going to compete we have to give our best. Give like a collective our best and for sure we have the quality to beat any team."

Opposition boss Roy Hodgson admitted his Palace side were simply outplayed in north London and had no qualms about the result.

"Son's performance was outstanding in that first half and it was quite interesting that in the last seconds of the game he was the one sprinting back to try to tackle and stop us scoring at 4-0 up," Hodgson said.

"Technically they were very good today and the quality of the passing from their two centre-backs was outstanding, but they probably won't get the credit for that because centre-backs don't.

"We were well beaten that's for sure, I thought they started so well and with such an incredible tempo that we couldn't deal with it."

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