Former Tottenham boss gives surprise verdict on Pochettino’s tactics against Juventus

Harry Redknapp has launched a staunch defence of Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino following the club’s exit from the Champions League at the hands of Juventus on Wednesday night.

Leading on away goals after a 2-2 first-leg draw in Turin, Spurs lost 2-1 at Wembley to crash out of the competition before the quarter-final stage.

The Lilywhites took a 1-0 lead into half-time but a change of shape from the Italians in the second period appeared to catch the home team off guard, as two strikes in a matter of minutes turned the tie on its head.

Pochettino was criticised in some quarters for failing to react to the Old Lady’s switch to a back four, which allowed them greater width going forward and immediately changed the dynamic of the clash.

However, Redknapp, who managed Tottenham for nearly four years between 2008 and 2012, insists that there was little that the Argentine could have done differently.

“Everyone is always ready to jump on the bandwagon, but what could Pochettino do?” the ex-Portsmouth boss said on talkSPORT.

“He’s stood there and Tottenham are completely dominating the game.

“They went 1-0 up and were in complete control, Juventus were hanging on dear life.

“Suddenly in three minutes, you don’t know how it’s happened, but it’s happened.”

Redknapp likened the situation to that of the first leg, when Tottenham came back from 2-0 down to snatch a draw, questioning whether Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri was perceived to have been ‘out-coached’ by his opponent on that occasion.

And had Harry Kane and Son-Heung-min put away chances before the latter eventually opened the scoring just before the break, Spurs could well have been celebrating progression to the quarter-finals.

Nonetheless, the attacking mentality ultimately backfired and some would argue that Pochettino should have adopted a more conservative attitude in the second half, with a focus on protecting the advantage.

He and his Tottenham players will hope to take the lessons from the defeat and come back stronger should they qualify for the Champions League next term.