Mauricio Pochettino has admitted that Tottenham Hotspur did not deserve to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League after their exit from the elite European club competition at the hands of Monaco on Tuesday (22 November). The Argentine manager also indicated that the squad needs more quality to compete with the best clubs in multiple competitions.
The north London club needed to win both their remaining games against Monaco and CSKA Moscow to ensure their progress but suffered a disappointing 2-1 loss against the team from the Principality. Djibril Sidibe gave the hosts the lead just three minutes after the restart with a clinical header from the centre of the box, but the lead lasted just four minutes as Harry Kane equalised from the spot after Dele Alli was fouled in the box by Kamil Glik.
However, Tottenham switched off immediately after levelling the game as Monaco were ahead within a minute via a left footed shot from a tight angle from Thomas Lemar. The Argentine manager was perplexed at the manner in which they conceded the second goal.
Pochettino chose to rest Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker who were both demoted to the bench owing to the London derby coming up against Chelsea on Saturday (26 November) and were also without Erik Lamela and Toby Alderweireld who are sidelined through injury.
"We are unbeaten in the Premier League, close to the top but to compete in the Champions League was tough," Pochettino said, as quoted by the Guardian. "Maybe next season, if we are in the Champions League, we need to make some changes. After two and a half years, we have reduced the gap at the top of the Premier League but to be competitive in that and the Champions League, we need to show more."
"Maybe we need to add more quality in the squad. We have quality, yes, to compete in the Premier League but, today, you could say we struggled a little bit. When you have problems, injuries, it is difficult to be competitive. At the moment, to compete in the Champions League and the Premier League, we struggle a little bit," the Argentine coach added.