Mauricio Pochettino criticised “soft” Tottenham’s defending after a 2-2 Premier League draw with Stoke City which he said felt like a defeat.
First-half goals from Eric Dier and Nacer Chadli put Tottenham in command at White Hart Lane on Saturday, as Stoke looked destined to suffer back-to-back defeats to begin the season.
Mark Hughes’ side refused to be beaten, though, and substitutes Joselu and Stephen Ireland played a key role as they battled back from two goals down to rescue a point.
Striker Joselu, making his Premier League debut, was upended by Toby Alderweireld 12 minutes from time and Marko Arnautovic slotted home the resulting penalty.
Mame Biram Diouf then levelled five minutes later by heading home Ireland’s inviting cross to stun the home side and Pochettino cut a frustrated figure after the London club’s late collapse.
He said: “It feels like a defeat. I’m very disappointed. We need to improve our game.
“After the penalty we were a bit soft and it’s this we need to improve.
“Until the penalty it was clear we dominated the game and had the better chances. After the goal [Arnautovic’s penalty] we gave them more opportunities to score and then it’s 2-2. It’s a bad feeling, but this is football.
“This is the beginning of the season, we have taken only one point from two games but I think the performance against Manchester United and today for the first 70 minutes was good, but we need to be more consistent during 90 minutes.”
Pochettino also felt Jack Butland’s outstanding save to keep out Harry Kane’s close-range shot when Tottenham led 2-0 was an important moment
“I think maybe that was the key,” said the former Southampton boss. “But we need to be more consistent in our performances and with our defensive work. I think at 2-0 at home, we need to manage the game better.”
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