Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino said his players ‘didn’t respect my plan’ as they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Olympiakos in their Champions League opener.
Last year’s Champions League finalists looked on course to begin this term’s campaign with a fine win in Greece after Harry Kane and Lucas Moura struck in the space of four first-half minutes to put them in command.
But, just over a fortnight after letting a similar advantage slip against Arsenal, they again capitulated as goals from Daniel Podence and Mathieu Valbuena earned the hosts a deserved point.
Tottenham’s season so far has been beset by an uncharacteristic weakness at the back.
And Pochettino accepts his side have to work hard on the training pitch to cure their defensive woes and ripped into their performance in Greece.
“In the beginning of this season we are conceding a lot of chances and lots of goals and we need to change that,” the Argentinian said. “The only way we can change is being more demanding from ourselves.
“And that is the way we are going to approach the different days and be more consistent.
“Training needs to be harder. Psychologically harder.
“I feel very disappointed, in the first half I wasn’t happy with our performance, from the beginning we had a plan and we didn’t respect the plan, that is what disappointed me most and that is what I told the players at half-time.
“We scored two goals in my opinion, from the penalty and a good goal from Lucas, but if you only analyse the performance it wasn’t great, we conceded a lot of chances to Olympiakos, the way we conceded the first goal was so painful.”
Spurs looked back to their best against Crystal Palace on Saturday, but they were unable to reproduce that in one of Europe’s most hostile atmospheres.
They endured a torrid opening 20 minutes and could have been behind by the time Kane smashed home his 15th Champions League goal in 20 games from the penalty spot.
Moura’s powerful drive from the edge of the area put Spurs in control before Podence’s goal on the stroke of half-time allowed Olympiakos back into it.
Valbuena completed the comeback with a 53rd-minute penalty, to leave Spurs licking their wounds.
“We didn’t translate from Saturday that aggressiveness that this level of game demands and that is my biggest disappointment,” Pochettino added.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility and it’s not possible for, in three days, how we start the game today to be a massive difference. That is my disappointment. I feel disappointed for everyone.
“At half-time we realised it and changed it and in the second half we were a little bit better and we conceded a very soft penalty.
“We created many chances to score, we dominated the second half. Overall, I thought the result was fair.”