Mauricio Pochettino took the blame for Spurs first-half performance against Aston Villa, saying that his players were ‘confused’, but named Christian Eriksen as a key to their eventual victory.
Newly promoted Villa took a first-half lead through John McGinn, who latched onto a long-ball from Tyrone Mings before slotting past Hugo Lloris.
Spurs did eventually grab all three points thanks to a cracking debut goal from club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele, before talisman striker Harry Kane netted two in the final four minutes to complete the turnaround at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
All of Spurs’ goals came following the 64th minute introduction fo Christian Eriksen, who had started on the bench, and speaking in his post-match interview, Mauricio Pochettino picked out the Denmark international for praise, but not before taking the blame for their first-half display.
*Spurs trail 1-0*
64': ⏩ Eriksen comes on
73': ⚽️ Spurs score
86': ⚽️ Spurs score
90': ⚽️ Spurs score
Spurs win 3-1. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/iPm0yL5vcW
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) August 10, 2019
“We conceded so early, we started the game well, had a few chances, but the first long ball we conceded,” Pochettino told Sky Sports.
“We were a bit confused and that is my fault, I’m the manager, but we made a lot of mistakes and didn’t work well in the first half. In the second half we fixed the problems, our positional game was completely different and we moved the ball better. Its very important for us to start with a victory, we have a lot of work to do.”
“We conceded so early and we started to be confused in the way we tried to play and our positional game did not work. We didn’t move the ball with the pace that we needed to find the space between the lines and break down the defensive line.
“In the second half we found different positions and the team started to be more relaxed and be more patient. We were very good. The second half with the same starting 11 in different positions we started to play.
📸 Tanguy Ndombele celebrates a first #PL goal as he becomes the 1st Spurs player to score on his PL debut since Eric Dier in August 2014
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 10, 2019
“Having Christian [Eriksen] fresh with the quality he has helped the team achieve the victory.”
Eriksen has of course been linked with a move away from Spurs lately, with Manchester United having been interested. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side ultimately withdrew their interest, although with the European transfer window open until September 2nd, and with just a year remaining on his deal, there remains a chance that he could be on his way out.