Pochettino: We must focus on Chelsea


Tottenham lost their “first final” of the week but head coach Mauricio Pochettino cannot let his side wallow in self pity with the Capital One Cup final fast approaching.

Spurs yesterday bowed out of the Europa League at the last-32 juncture after a promising start to the second leg in Florence petered out.

The decision to deny Christian Eriksen an early penalty was compounded by Roberto Soldado’s embarrassing mistake on a night when Mario Gomez and Mohamed Salah secured Fiorentina a 2-0 win at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, seeing them through 3-1 on aggregate.

Now, the north Londoners have to quickly refocus as Chelsea await at Wembley on Sunday, when Pochettino’s side will need to show a more clinical edge if they are to end their seven-year wait for a trophy.

“We are all disappointed, the player, too,” the Spurs head coach said of Soldado’s wasted opportunity. “It is normal.

“This one was the first final for us and all players are disappointed, but now we need to look forwards, to recover quickly, because on Sunday we have another game. It is impossible to change the game now.”

Pochettino is hoping their chances of Wembley success will be aided by staying on in Italy after the Fiorentina match.

The north Londoners normally fly straight back after Europa League games, but will instead today train at Coverciano – Italy’s equivalent to St George’s Park.

Spurs captain Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor and Etienne Capoue are among those absent from the travelling party and, as a result, are unlikely to feature on Sunday.

However, it is far from clear in some positions who will be selected from the players here in Italy, where Pochettino made seven alterations to face the Viola.

“Fiorentina made nine changes, we made seven changes,” the former Argentina defender said, when asked if he had any regrets.

“I don’t know how to explain – we are in a busy period and when you have a strong squad, you need to give the opportunity play to all.

“It is not about selection, it is about performance and our performance was very good in the first half. We deserve maybe 2-0 because I think there was a great chance for us and a clear penalty.

“We played well and dominated the game, but this is football. It is easy to explain as we saw.”

The win saw Fiorentina extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 11 matches – much to the delight of goalscorer Gomez.

“I’m delighted with our performance,” the Germany striker said. “This is the sort of game I love to be involved in. I’m really happy for the fans.

“I’ve been through some tough times but it’s over now, I’m fine. We’re playing well as a team and we want to go on like this.”

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