Watford and Tottenham had both made 100% starts to the Premier League season, so something was likely to give today. Watford came from behind to stun Spurs but Mauricio Pochettino was not happy with his team’s performance. He felt they were too soft and, without saying it, a little bit ‘Spursy.’ Last Word on Football analyses Watford’s win as an angry Pochettino slams ‘relaxed’ Tottenham.
Watford Maintain 100% Record as an Angry Pochettino Slams ‘Relaxed’ Tottenham
Tottenham went into today’s game coming off the back of a 3-0 away win at Old Trafford. It was a result that was seen as a marker for Spurs’ season. Pochettino, though, was not happy with the performance against United, despite the victory:
“We need to fight against the perception. When you compare the perception and the reality, we need to talk about the reality, and the reality was in the first half we can concede one, two or three goals.”
Today he cut an angry man.
Watford Fight Back to Stun Spurs
Spurs seemed intent on trying to dictate the pace of the game but it was all too slow. Lucas Moura looked full of confidence and energy after his two-goal starring performance on Monday. He nearly broke the deadlock in the first half but was crowded out by the Watford defence and Ben Foster. It felt like a war of attrition at times and wasn’t exactly ‘easy on the eye’.
Abdoulaye Doucoure gave Spurs the lead with an own goal before Toby Alderweireld headed against his own bar. Troy Deeney headed the equaliser for the Hornets and Craig Cathcart headed home a corner on 76 minutes to maintain Watford’s 100% record and end Spurs’ hopes of four wins on the bounce.
Mauricio Pochettino is usually a calm, cool customer. After Monday’s game, he came across as agitated. After todays loss, he came across angry, furious almost:
“To show we are a contender we need to be winning games. To win games you need to give your best. With the very difficult start to the season with the World Cup. The people talk about winning, but it’s only the start of September and it’s a long way to go. I’m very upset but I’m also happy because it’s a wake up call.“
Pochettino perspired as he faced the cameras. If his players heard his interview, which they will have, they will all need to take a long hard look at themselves. Moussa Dembele gave the ball away time after time and Spurs looked sluggish and lacking in any cutting edge. Harry Kane struggled to have any impact on the game and despite his early season goal-scoring form, there were signs today of fatigue.
Transfer Window Failings Showed Today
Credit has to be given to Watford for their determination and aggressive play today. They showed alll of the traits that Spurs did not. When Spurs went behind, Pochettino looked to his bench and it was not a pretty sight. Fernando Llorente came on for Alderweireld and was again poor in a Spurs shirt. He had the ball at his feet and managed to not find the net. The issue is that Spurs don’t have game changers on the bench. Heung-Min Son returning will be a boost but Spurs’ transfer window failings could be a major factor in where this season heads for them.
Soft Underbelly Reared Its Head
Under Pochettino, Spurs have cast off their ‘Spursy’ tag of softness and throwing games away. They have started the season well and it will take more than one poor performance to derail Spurs. Pochettino’s anger today should serve as a warning to his players that he will not tolerate second best. He will not tolerate players being relaxed and lacking the effort and desire he has instilled since he took the helm.
Spurs’ 100% record has gone. Pochettino is an angry man. His players need to up their game after the international break. Watford march on. Spurs need to refocus and will need to be much better than they were today if they want to mount a serious title challenge.