Pochettino: Europa League sapped us


Mauricio Pochettino has blamed Tottenham’s lunchtime lethargy this season on the Europa League campaign.

Of 10 Barclays Premier League matches kicking off at 1200, 1245 or 1330, Spurs have won two – against QPR last August and Arsenal in February – collecting nine points out of a possible 30.

Six of the matches followed Europa League games on Thursday nights, and Spurs lost four of those and drew the other two.

Pochettino, whose side play his former club Southampton at 1245 at St Mary’s on Saturday, said: “Maybe this is a coincidence. Or maybe this is because we play Thursday around Europe and have no recovery.

“I don’t know. It’s difficult to understand why. Maybe it’s because we have played Thursday night and spent a lot of energy.”

Spurs have fared better in later kick-offs.

Pochettino said: “Maybe three or four hours more of recovery is better. That can affect that.”

The matches were:

1200 kick-off:

Man Utd H (December 28) D 0-0

West Ham H (February 22) D 2-2*

1245 kick-off

Man City A (October 18) L 4-1

Arsenal H (February 7) W 2-1

1330 kick-off

QPR H (August 24) W 4-0*

Liverpool H (August 31) L 3-0*

West Brom H (September 21) L 1-0*

Newcastle H (October 26) L 2-1*

Stoke H (November 9) L 2-1

Burnley A (April 5) D 0-0

*Indicates followed a Europa League match

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  1. It has long been no secret that we fare very poorly in the games after a Europa league trip so then the question I have been asking myself all this time is why are we giving this second tier European cup competition serious consideration given that it damages our domestic ambitions so badly? In my humble opinion the Europa cup is devalued somewhat by allowing those teams from the champions league that didn’t qualify from their group to drop into the knockout stages of the Europa competition. This is wrong. If this be the case then why doesn’t UEFA make the Europa league a straight knockout competition and forget the whole league aspect of it then? The fact that this Europa competition has damaged our league ambitions for the past five six years should’ve left us in no doubt that we needed to pay it less importance than we have been doing. Just to prove how poorly organised the competition is the winner this year goes into the champions league but not the group stages proper. Ridiculous. Should we have the dubious pleasure of having to play in the early qualifying stages of this competition then it is my contention that we should year this competition with the contempt it deserves and field a weakened side. The money for appearing in this competition is pathetic when you compare it to what is given in the champions league so once again the question is why bother with? Once again it is no secret that if you’re not playing in Europe then you can concentrate on your domestic league and take advantage of those around you that do like Liverpool did the season before last and like Manchester United are doing this season. With how the club is going with the new manager and the exciting Harry Kane and the new stadium would it really be such a bad thing to give that competition a miss and really have a proper go at the league and see what we could do? The upshot could be that we finish in the champions league places and are able to attract the types of players we want and to keep the ones we have. No brainer if you ask me.



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