Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has once again attacked his players after defeat to Bayer Leverkusen left the club's Champions League ambitions hanging by a thread. Kevin Kampl's 65th minute goal consigned Spurs to their second straight home defeat at their adopted home of Wembley, which once again played host to a record attendance for an English club in Europe.
But the north Londoners appeared overawed by the occasion, in front of a crowd of 85,512, and with just two group games remaining find themselves outside of the top two required to secure automatic qualification for the knock-out stage. The result follows the 2-1 loss to Monaco which saw Pochettino question his side's lack of hunger and passion.
And the Tottenham boss has not held back upon the latest European failure, which comes amid their unbeaten start in the Premier League, labelled the performance as "embarrassing". Pochettino has also refused to blame Wembley, which will host all of the team's home games for the 2017-18 season, as the reason behind the run of results.
"We must win in Monaco, or else we can forget the Champions League and if we win in Monaco, we must beat CSKA Moscow or bye-bye Champions League," the Tottenham coach, who has failed to win any of his last six games, said according to The Guardian. "We can make a lot of excuses but a psychological block with Wembley? If I wanted to make an excuse, I would say yes. But it is not true. Tell me one place better to play than Wembley? We had 85,000 fans watching us and it was embarrassing for me.
"You cannot blame Wembley. We need to show more. We need to put ourselves in front of the mirror and say: 'Come on, we must improve.' The first game at Wembley may have been an accident but to do it again, something must be wrong, and we need to find out what. We are in a bad moment and we need to be critical and honest.
"The problem was not the attitude – it was that we did not show our quality. We are much better than we played today. Maybe it is taking my players time to manage the Premier League and Champions League – the two toughest competitions in the world. It is good to see how we react."
Tottenham face Monaco away on 19 November before hosting CSKA Moscow in their final group match on 7 December. As Pochettino contemplates having to potentially take maximum points from both matches, he must turn his attention to the derby against Arsenal where he will be without Harry Kane and Toby Alderweireld, while Mousa Dembele is a doubt after going off against Leverkusen with an ankle injury.