Tottenham boss Pochettino blames ‘poor’ start for defeat to Leicester

Mauricio Pochettino admitted that Tottenham Hotspur’s first-half performance cost them dearly as they lost 2-1 to Leicester City in the Premier League on Tuesday night.

Spurs were 2-0 down at the break thanks to goals from Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez and the manager was furious after the match at the manner in which his team had gone about their business in the opening period.

“I’m very disappointed with the performance in the first half, it was so poor,” he told the club’s official website.

“You need to compete, you need to fight first of all, then play football.

“You cannot play football if you don’t compete and fight in the Premier League.

“That’s why we’re so disappointed.

“It’s true the game was open and we had chances to score, maybe to draw, maybe to win the game but in the end, the result was against us because of the first half.”

On a cold evening at the King Power Stadium, the home side dominated the early exchanges and took the lead when Vardy lifted the ball over Hugo Lloris after a pinpoint cross from Marc Albrighton.

The remainder of the half was fairly even but Riyad Mahrez curled in a superb second just before the break to leave the Lilywhites with a mountain to climb.

They had a golden opportunity to reduce the deficit when Christian Eriksen somehow shot wide after the ball broke to him inside the six-yard box.

Harry Kane eventually pulled one back, slamming home following a clever through ball from the returning Erik Lamela.

Tottenham could have salvaged a point had Fernando Llorente not shot over from close range after an excellent ball in from the right by Serge Aurier.

Overall though it was another sub-par performance from Spurs, the latest in a poor run of form that has seen them lose significant ground in the title race.

Pochettino’s men travel to Watford on Saturday knowing that a win is vital to reinforce their top-four ambitions.