(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino remained defiant despite his side preparing for their Champions League semi-final second leg against Ajax Amsterdam in disjointed fashion as they had two men sent off in a 1-0 defeat by Bournemouth.
Already trailing 1-0 in the tie ahead of the clash at the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday, Tottenham looked to claim the three points on Saturday that would have made sure of another season of Champions League football in 2019-20.
However, Nathan Ake’s stoppage-time header inflicted a 13th league defeat of the season on Spurs who had been reduced to nine men shortly after halftime.
The north London side have won just five of their last 15 in all competitions, and have lost their last three in a row. Ake’s late winner also means Tottenham have lost six consecutive away Premier League matches for the first time since May 2004.
They had their chances in the first half at the Vitality Stadium, but found debutant goalkeeper Mark Travers in inspired form.
Even after Son Heung-min and Juan Foyth had been sent off, Spurs looked comfortable in holding out for a crucial point, until poor marking allowed Ake in at the last.
Pochettino remained positive, though, believing his side are still enjoying a fine season.
“We are third, we are competing for the top four and in the semi-finals of the Champions League,” the Argentine said. “If you look back at first game of the season, to be in position we are in today, we’d be happy.
“The first 40 minutes we played well and created chances but didn’t score. Then we know football can be cruel, they scored in the last minute. We need to move on.
“It (another defeat) won’t affect that (Ajax match) - we need to be ready for Wednesday.”
Spurs travel to Amsterdam having won just once away from home in the Champions League this season.
They will need to come up with an inspired performance against an Ajax side who have won 13 of their last 15 in all competitions, and disposed of Real Madrid and Juventus en route to the semi-finals.
Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Christian Radnedge