Pochettino accepts Chiriches error

Image: SpursWeb

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino defended Vlad Chiriches after his mistake gifted Besiktas a last-gasp leveller in the Europa League.

Until the dying embers of the game, it had looked like Spurs would win the Group C encounter thanks to Harry Kane’s fine 20-yard strike in the first half.

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris would have taken the majority of praise for the victory after a wonderful display, although he was eventually beaten by a nonchalant, late Demba Ba penalty.

Chiriches capped a poor performance by giving away the 89th minute spot-kick with a foolish handball when trying to make amends for an initial air kick, although Pochettino defended the Romania international after the 1-1 draw.

“In football you always can make a mistake,” the former Argentina defender said. “It was an unlucky action, a difficult action in this moment.

“He made one mistake after another mistake, but we need to accept it because this is football.

“I am very disappointed, I am angry, I am frustrated and all that you want to say, but it is 1-1 in the end.

“We conceded in the last minute, which is very disappointing, and maybe frustrating. It is hard to accept this.”

Not willing to apportion the blame to Chiriches, Pochettino was equally reserved when offered the chance to single Lloris out for praise.

“It is important to have a goalkeeper like him or Michel Vorm or Brad Friedel,” the Spurs head coach said. “They have a lot of experience and they are top class.

“Yes, he produced two or three big saves and I liked their goalkeeper because he produced two big saves too. It was 1-0 and if we scored the second goal, then we kill the game.

“When the game is open and they have the opportunity, they have the chance and we let them open the game, but it is okay. It is football and we need to accept that.”

Besiktas counterpart Slaven Bilic was more forthcoming with praise for Lloris after the match, calling the goalkeeper “one of the best” in the world after this display.

However, he saved his biggest compliments for his team after they fought back to secure a deserved draw at White Hart Lane.

“Well, it was, even for the neutrals, a good game of football,” the former Everton and West Ham defender said.

“Like every coach when your team is participating in a good game, we are happy. If the result comes with that, you are more happy, of course, but at least you are happy because you made the spectators happy.

“I don’t want to sound big-headed but for every team that comes to White Hart Lane and takes a point, it is a good point. No matter what the team is, Manchester United, Besiktas, whatever – nobody is favourite here apart from Tottenham.

“The only thing I am not happy with is the result because we dominated from the first minute.

“We were basically excellent apart from the chances that we created but didn’t score and it was so frustrating to go in at half-time 1-0 down.

“We were so good that I told them ‘don’t lose your head, just keep passing, keep passing, keep passing. It will come’ – and then it came.”

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