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Tottenham must improve on maintaining leads in games, says Pochettino

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By Reuters
Tottenham must improve on maintaining leads in games, says Pochettino
Soccer Football - Champions League - Group B - Olympiacos v Tottenham Hotspur - Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus, Greece - September 18, 2019 Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino during the match REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis   -   Copyright  Alkis Konstantinidis(Reuters)

(Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur must improve on maintaining in-game leads and managing the game better after throwing away a 2-0 lead in two of their last three matches, manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Thursday.

Spurs blew a 2-0 lead against arch rivals Arsenal in the 2-2 Premier League draw earlier this month and squandered a two-goal lead again on Wednesday in their Champions League opener at Olympiakos Piraeus to come away with only a point.

Pochettino said it was not an issue with the team’s mentality but a question of managing in-game situations to come away with all three points.

“We need to improve like we need to improve in all the aspects,” Pochettino told reporters ahead of Saturday’s trip to Leicester City. “We need to improve in this type of situation… Leading 2-0 against Arsenal, leading 2-0 against Olympiakos.

“I think we are not talking about quality, we are talking about in this type of situation managing the game better and dealing better with this type of situation.

“A few months ago we were in the final of the Champions League and we were not talking about mentality. We got a lot of praise because we were in the final. We need to create a dynamic to match every opponent.”

Spurs have won four of their last five league matches against Leicester, including the last three in a row, but Pochettino is wary of Brendan Rodgers’ side who also have eight points after five matches this season.

“In the Premier League we know each other really well,” Pochettino said. “Leicester is a very good team with a lot of good, unbelievable players.

“After winning the Premier League they have rebuilt their squad and today are doing a fantastic job with a great manager like Brendan Rodgers, who I know really well.”

While Spurs’ new recruits Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon remain sidelined with hip and hamstring injuries respectively, Tanguy Ndombele is set to make his first league start since last month after playing 62 minutes at Olympiakos.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)