Were you disappointed with the lack of intensity from your team for the first half of a north London derby?
I agree. 200 per cent agree. I was trying to understand but I agree totally. Very, very poor first half.
The only two things that were positive in the first half were an amazing goal and the result. The result because 1-1 was not a fair reflection of that first half where they dominated us.
We didn’t have defensive intensity to press and to run, to be really aggressive and to win duels and second balls. We didn’t have any of that.
We also didn’t have the intensity to play. Everybody was dropping back to have the ball at their feet and nobody was attacking the gap, apart from Lucas with some individual actions, we were not like that.
So for me the first half is easy to analyse. I believe that it’s not just your opinion. It will be the opinion of every one of you and everyone that watched the game and for me, feeling the game on the touchline, it’s even easier to feel it in the first half. We were very poor.
You told Sky that you were disappointed with some big players hiding, can I ask you to explain that a bit more?
Big players, big players they are all. You know you play for Tottenham and you are a big player. Playing in a London derby you are a big player. Playing in the Premier League you are a big player.
It’s not that I’m pointing the finger to Player A, B or C, even pointing the finger to myself because we are a team. We don’t try to individualise. We like to do that when someone plays amazingly. It’s beautiful to do that but when the team is as poor as we were, we don’t point the finger at anyone.
The reality is that in the first half, like I was saying, we were defensively poor but also with the ball we were very poor.
People hiding themselves, no intensity, no passing and moving. We were poor. As simple as that.
Why did you take off Gareth Bale?
Intensity. Gareth and Tanguy, we need more intensity in that game. We need to press more. We need to get more depth. We need to be more intense in the game. We needed initially Sissoko to give us that intensity in midfield that Tanguy was not bringing.
And then, Dele was a player that of course he had a desire to play, in the last match he didn’t complete 90 minutes, he was fresh also to come, he has a good understanding with Harry. And at the time I saw that Lamela and Lucas from the sides, would give us more intensity which we didn’t have.
And even with 10 players, I think it was proven that our team improved significantly. The second half was our half. And when we made the changes, we made the changes to win the game. Because we felt that the game then was under control. In the first half even winning 1-0 we never felt controlling the game, never. In the second half with 1-1 we felt we were controlling the game, and we could give a different step to try to win it.”
Then the crucial action of the game arrives – I don’t want to call it a penalty, because is an offence to the penalty. But the crucial action of game arrived in the second half. And then the team showed that it was in the right direction, in the right attitude, the right intensity, with the right dynamics. Even with 10 players then we were a team, and then we would deserve something.
Did the response from your big players surprise you?
We are a team, it is about us, and not about individuals, or about experience or about position. We, as a team, we had a very poor first half, period. I will analyse why, I will try of course to go through it. But just in a very simple pragmatic way. Worse than our first half, only Michael Oliver and Paul Tierney, the decision for giving the penalty. The only thing worse than our first half.
How bad is Son’s injury and is it a worry for you because he’s an important player?
That’s football, I don’t know how long it is. Is muscular. Muscular is always not easy. He’s a guy that normally he recovers v v well from any kind of injury. And that’s football. That’s accumulation of matches.
In Europa League I gave him 30 minutes rest, so 90 minus 30 is 60, but 60 is still 60. And when you are in so many competitions, some players they have more minutes than others, which is normal, something that can happen.