‘When you have an unsettled squad it’s difficult’: Mauricio Pochettino calls on Tottenham to ‘build togetherness’ after shock Colchester defeat leaves them with just two wins in eight games
Mauricio Pochettino admits his team is stuck in a rut after Tottenham were embarrassed in the Carabao Cup by Colchester United of League Two.
Spurs lost on penalties after a goalless draw in the third round and have won only twice in eight games this season.
They have not claimed an away win since the Champions League semi-final at Ajax in May.
Mauricio Pochettino shouts on the touchline during Tottenham’s shootout defeat at Colchester
Pochettino blamed the problems on an unsettled pre-season and spoke of ‘different agendas’ as he called for clear minds and ‘togetherness’ as he searches for a find a solution ahead of a game against Southampton on Saturday.
‘We are in a period where it’s a bit tough for us,’ said the Tottenham manager. ‘But we keeping working to find a solution.
‘When this type of thing happens it’s about staying clear and fresh and calm. We’re trying to find solutions and we only need time.
‘We talked a lot in pre-season. We have experience in football and it’s so important that the feelings were how I explained them in pre-season – but now it’s not about what I said in pre-season.
‘I knew it would be a tough situation. When you have an unsettled squad always it’s difficult and you lose time. And then you need time to recover the time you lose. That’s where we are.
‘Our performances are good but you need this extra, mental connection; it’s the energy to be all together, not to have different agendas in the squad. We need time to build the togetherness you need when you are competing at this level.’
Pochettino accused his players of lacking intensity and abandoning his game-plan last week when they surrendered a two-goal lead and drew with Olympiacos, in Greece, in the Champions League.
On Tuesday night, after losing against Colchester, he was more diplomatic. ‘Today wasn’t a problem with energy,’ he said. ‘We ran a lot, we cannot talk about the effort or commitment. The effort was massive and the way we are going to change this dynamic is by working the way we worked today.
‘Today was when you are nearly all perfect but you don’t score and it’s because something you miss in the last third. Maybe we missed a little bit of quality to score in the last third – but I am happy.’
Pochettino made 10 changes and gave Harry Kane the night off – he was not even among the substitutes – and he led the line with 17-year-old Troy Parrott, who was supported by Dele Alli and Lucas Moura.
Heung-min Son, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela came on in the second half with Spurs in desperate search of a goal but they could not find a way through a strong, committed and well-organised Colchester defence.
Eriksen took the first penalty, which was saved, and Lucas Moura hit the bar. Tom Lapslie scored the winning spot-kick to clinch a 4-3 win and spark wild celebrations and a good-natured pitch invasion at the Jobserve Community Stadium.
Having beaten Crystal Palace on penalties in the second round, John McGreal’s team have accounted for two Premier League teams in this competition.
‘That is the beauty of the cups, it can always happen,’ said Pochettino. ‘Crystal Palace were beaten in their own stadium on penalties and now the same. That’s the universe that is against us today.’