LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino said the opening goal in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over his team in the Premier League on Saturday should not have stood and “changed the dynamic of the game”.
Shkodran Mustafi gave the Gunners the lead by heading home from what replays showed was a slightly offside position in the 36th minute.
The free kick that led to the goal was also controversial, with Davinson Sanchez being penalised by referee Mike Dean for a disputable foul on Alexis Sanchez, who went on to score the second five minutes later.
“I’m very disappointed in the performance and the way we conceded the goals,” Pochettino told reporters. “The foul wasn’t a foul. The goal was offside. But we lose. I’m not blaming the referee. It’s a strange situation. It changed the dynamic of the game. We need to accept that. We can’t control that. “Before the goal, the team was doing well. We were better than them. But it’s not one mistake; it’s two mistakes. It wasn’t a foul and then it was offside.” Defeat by Arsenal means Pochettino has now won just once in 17 away games against the Gunners, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool since taking over as Tottenham manager in 2014.
Pochettino, however, denied there is a trend and said improving his side’s away performances against top teams was not his highest priority. “I don’t think we struggle away from home,” he added. “We are in the same situation as everyone. It was difficult for Arsenal to play at Manchester City and it was difficult for Manchester United to play at Chelsea. It’s not only Tottenham who struggle to compete with the big teams away from home. “We need to do many things. We need to win trophies, we need to build the new stadium, we need to build the squad, we need to play young players.” Danny Rose was left out of Tottenham’s matchday squad against Arsenal despite being fit to play. Pochettino denied he had fallen out with the England full back and insisted he was easing him back into regular action following long-term injury.
“He was training today,” Pochettino said. “Like (Erik) Lamela, after one year out, we need to look after their fitness. “When you have 10-11 months out and then play, sometimes it’s better to train and prepare for the next game, where he could be on the bench and even play. Sometimes they need different types of training to get fit and build their fitness.”
Editing by Ed Osmond