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Sunday 19 November 2017

Pochettino celebrates Spurs' ability to win ugly

Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen celebrates scoring against Bournemouth with his team-mates at Wembley. Photo: PA Wire
Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen celebrates scoring against Bournemouth with his team-mates at Wembley. Photo: PA Wire

Mauricio Pochettino admits Tottenham had to win ugly against Bournemouth ahead of a crunch week for his side in the Champions League.

After beating the Cherries 1-0 to secure their first Premier League victory at Wembley, Spurs now turn their attention to a mouth-watering tie against Real Madrid tomorrow.

They will have to play better than they did against Bournemouth, who missed chances to take the lead before Christian Eriksen’s second-half strike proved the difference. “It’s so important for us to win, get the three points. I think it wasn’t a great performance but it was enough to win,” Pochettino said.

“We were better than Bournemouth. The first half was so difficult, they played deeper and we struggled to find the space and break them down, their organisation.

“I think our performance in the second half was good and we created chances to win. I think we deserved the victory.”

Ben Davies missed the match through illness, meaning Jan Vertonghen was pushed out to left-back, with Danny Rose still not fit enough to play following a knee injury. Pochettino said Davies is unlikely to be available for the clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“It’s difficult. I don’t believe so,” Pochettino said.

“I hope that he can be involved again as soon as possible but we need to assess him. But I am not so positive.”

Spurs are in a strong position to make the Champions League knock-out stages, having taken maximum points from their opening two games against Borussia Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia. “We are going to play one of the best teams in the world,” Pochettino said. “We need to recover well after the two weeks with the players all away from us.”

Bournemouth, meanwhile, remain 19th in the Premier League table and without a point from what is now four away fixtures this season.

Defender Steve Cook said: “If we were performing poorly and getting battered each week, we’d be concerned but I’m very confident we will turn this around. Now is not the time to be concerned. We have to stick together, the players, the fans. We’ve been in this position before and we’ve always found a way to turn it around.”

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