Pochettino - we thought it would be easy

I have said it before and I'll say it again, mentality is everything in sport, especially at the top level and Mauricio Pochettino admits the Tottenham mentality is wrong.

Pochettino - we thought it would be easy

Before the game I cited the Leeds United FA Cup game in 2013 when Mousa Dembele came out after the game and said he wasn't motivated for it, the result a poor performance and we lost. Spurs had underestimated their opponents and approached the game as if it would be easy.

They did the same thing to AEL Limassol and nearly came unstuck again. It is a worrying trend. Again before the game I spoke of Harry Kane and his attitude would be important to us in this game, he turned out to be the one outfield player who was 'up for it' and was head and shoulders above everyone else.

“I think it was a very tough game a difficult game, a hard game because he conditions were difficult and the weather was difficult. I’m happy with the performance. In the end 2-1 for us is an important result for us. 
“It is true that in the first half we started to make mistakes, but in general, I am happy and looking forward to the next game, on Sunday. We created two or three chances in the first seven minutes.  
"I think it’s true that we believed that it would be an easy game, but we knew when we watched their game against Zenit, Limassol won the game won 1-0, that they have a very good team. 
“In the second half we started the game, I think we restarted the game in the second half and I’m very satisfied after the game.” 

What he says there is they thought it would be easy but after watching videos of when they beat AVB managed Zenit St Petersburg they changed their view. Well it seems Pochettino did but some of the players clearly didn't.

Every footballer should motivate themselves and every footballer should see every game as a big game, if they don't then they have a mental weakness. A player who is only going to give his best for a game he perceives to be big is of no use. Put a group of weak minds together and you have no hope of winning anything.

Of the attacking four only Harry Kane stood up and said I should be starting games boss, the others didn't and therefore shouldn't.

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Only Hugo Lloris, Kyle Naughton, Nabil Bentaleb and Eric Dier retaining their places from Saturday, all defensive players and they were left stranded by the rest who thought it would be easy and that AEL didn't really pose a threat. Well they did, playing like that they carries a huge threat.

Ben Davies gave an impersonation of Danny Rose last season and was easily beaten on several occasions, Naughton had his moments on the right and Vertonghen was rusty. Mind you he wasn't as rusty as Paulinho who isn't anywhere near being ready.

Holtby did what Holtby does, run around a lot, Townsend was back to his me me me old ways. It all smacked of, as Pochettino said, they thought it would be easy, then because they are not mentally switched on they couldn't change the game. If you have a few players thinking it'll be easy then they tend to play for themselves more which destroys the team game.

There are positives to take from the game, a few World Cup players got what was effectively their first pre-season game into their legs and to apply the new system in an actual game. Harry Kane deserves great credit, Soldado scored a super volley to level the score but he also missed a sitter from 6 yards, Erik Lamela played for 18 minutes and did more in that time than anyone, he transformed the game.

Lamela's performance is so encouraging, after finding his confidence in pre-season he knocked in a few goals, started against West Ham and now has had a major match winning impact on a game. It shows mentally he is in the right place.

A few of the others need to join him.

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