Mauricio Pochettino was not surprised to see Paulo Gazzaniga deliver a man-of-the-match performance on his Tottenham debut as Spurs scraped a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
After beating Real Madrid 3-1 in midweek, Spurs’ excitement was soon checked by injuries to Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld and Dele Alli as they welcomed the Premier League’s bottom club to Wembley.
Pochettino’s side lacked fluency and were indebted to Gazzaniga, playing his first top-flight game in almost two years, for making three excellent saves before Son Heung-min buried a 64th-minute winner.
Gazzaniga and Pochettino worked together at Southampton and the Spurs boss was more than happy to throw his fellow Argentine in at short notice after Michel Vorm suffered a knee injury shortly before the game.
Pochettino told BT Sport: “I think he was fantastic but it’s not a surprise.
60 – Gazzaniga does well again as he keeps out Milivojevic’s header at the back post. Good spell for the visitors.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 5, 2017
“We had him in Southampton and he played with us in the Premier League. When there was the possibility to sign here, there was no doubt about his quality.
“We have three [goalkeepers] plus younger guys with a lot of potential, so we have very good [options to] protect our goal.”
Spurs struggled to break down the likes of Burnley, Swansea City and Bournemouth at Wembley this term, but Pochettino does not believe a pattern can be drawn – pointing to the emotional comedown from beating Madrid.
“It’s more mental because the people that play football know very well that it’s not the same when you run but when you run with massive expectation,” he said.
“The last seven games, we played all the games, were very emotional for the players and they’re not machines, they need time to recover from every effort.
“I am so happy because the period was good, only one defeat against Manchester United, which we didn’t deserve, but I’m very pleased.
“Now we’re going into the international [break]. We’re going to recover some players and then start again and it’s a new season.”
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