Mauricio Pochettino says Juventus have taught Tottenham a lesson in how to be specialists

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Mauricio Pochettino believes Juventus have taught Tottenham how to become specialists in success.

Spurs suffered Champions League heartache at the hands of the Serie A champions when a 2-1 defeat at Wembley on Wednesday evening saw Juventus go through 4-3 on aggregate.

Tottenham boss Pochettino said Juventus owner Andrea Agnelli and chief executive Giuseppe Marotta spent time in the tunnel before, during and after the midweek game.

And he felt the Italian club did everything in their power to ensure it was they who would progress to the quarter-finals, including attempting to put pressure on Polish official Szymon Marciniak.

The Argentinian manager thinks his Premier League team can learn from that culture.

“I think it’s a massive situation that you must learn (from). If we only see the stats from the two games, I think Tottenham was the much better team,” Pochettino said.

“It’s in the small details that the competitions sometimes demand different things.

“And I think Juventus are specialists because they have the habit to win, the habit to put pressure on the referee.

“The owner stayed in the corridor in the tunnel before or during the game.

“It’s a club with a culture to do everything to try to help the team.

“Before the game it was Agnelli, after the game it was Agnelli, Marotta.

“I saw at half-time how they put pressure on the referee. I believe those details can help the club.”

After securing a 2-2 draw in Turin, Tottenham appeared on course to progress after going ahead in the second leg through Son Heung-min.

But quick-fire second-half goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala turned the tie in the visitors’ favour to leave Spurs to focus on the FA Cup and securing a top-four Premier League finish.

Pochettino refused to blame his side’s European exit on the behaviour of the opposition.

“It’s not because of that that we lost,” he added. “The chances that we had, we weren’t capable to score more than one goal.

“It’s a massive lesson to care not only on the pitch, but off the pitch. When you’re going to win, you need help from everyone.”

Spurs return to action at Bournemouth on Sunday and Pochettino insists they cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves.

“It’s now a moment to think of the next game,” he said.

“The competition doesn’t wait for you, if you’re happy or sad, the team has to move on and think about the weekend.”

Midfielder Eric Dier sustained an elbow injury against Juventus and is a doubt for the Cherries game.

Defender Toby Alderweireld remains unavailable because of a hamstring problem, while full-back Serge Aurier is back in contention after his European suspension. 

Provided by Press Association Sport

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We know we haven't been good enough, says Arsenal star Jack Wilshere

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Jack Wilshere admits Arsenal have not been good enough in recent weeks and has revealed he is no closer to signing a new contract at the club.

The 26-year-old England international has a little more than three months remaining on his current deal but negotiations over an extension remain at an impasse.

He started against AC Milan on Thursday night as the Gunners ended a run of four straight defeats with a 2-0 Europa League victory in Italy.

The San Siro win puts Arsene Wenger’s side on course for the quarter-finals, with the Europa League not just the only chance of silverware this season but also increasingly the only viable route back to Champions League football.

Recent results have left Arsenal 13 points adrift of the Premier League top four, with a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final also denting the confidence of the players. They return to domestic action with a home game against Watford on Sunday.

Wilshere conceded after the win in Milan that the performances have not been up to scratch of late and called on the squad to use this victory as a platform for the rest of the campaign.

“If anyone tells you you haven’t got to prove anything to anyone, they are wrong,” he said.

“You are always trying to prove yourself to people and play well in the next game. We know we haven’t been good enough. We are aware of it.

“We have got to use this win as a target. We have got to reach these levels every week.

“We have got another game on Sunday and then next week, the job in this competition is not done yet…this is AC Milan. They can come, want to play and want to win the game. We have to be ready.”

Wilshere started this season needing to prove his fitness and form in order to earn a contract to stay at the Emirates Stadium.

He has certainly done that and has returned to a first-team regular having been limited to Europa League group games earlier in the campaign.

Reports suggest Wilshere has been offered a lower basic salary than his current deal and that, given his poor injury record in recent years, a new contract would therefore be heavily incentivised around appearances.

Asked after the last-16 win in Milan whether he had anything to say about his contract wrangle, Wilshere replied: “Not really, no.”

Wenger has said in recent weeks that signing the deal is all down to Wilshere as the club have made their offer.
But the midfielder, who spent last season on loan at Bournemouth in an attempt to play more football, said no progress has been made.

“Things have changed since then,” replied Wilshere when asked about Wenger’s comments.

“All I can tell you is that we are no closer to sorting anything out.”

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Arsene Wenger hopes gloom will now lift after Arsenal beat AC Milan

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Arsene Wenger finally saw Arsenal respond to their bad run of form as they beat AC Milan comfortably at San Siro – and the manager now wants to use the victory to turn the season around.

The Gunners travelled to Italy for the first leg of this Europa League last-16 tie on the back of four damaging defeats.

But, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan scoring his first goal for the club in the 15th minute and Aaron Ramsey rounding Gianluigi Donnarumma to add a second on the stroke of half-time, Arsenal secured a 2-0 victory to take back to the Emirates Stadium next week.

Milan were poor, belying their improved form since Gennaro Gattuso took charge in November, but this was a performance that Arsenal needed.

Their hopes of returning to the Champions League all but rest on winning this competition, given they are 13 points adrift of the Premier League’s top four.

So it was a timely display to keep their quest for honours alive, with Wenger hopeful the result can lift some of the negativity affecting his players.

Asked if the win was just what Arsenal needed, he replied: “Yes, and what we wanted especially.

“At some stage, you need to respond and respond together with a good performance. That’s what we did tonight.

“When you have big disappointments you forget quickly that you have some qualities. In one week, you do not become a bad team or a bad player.

“Nothing is permanent in life. What is happening in life is just about how much you want to influence things. That’s what we try to do.”

Wenger did warn, however, that the tie is far from over, with Milan capable of turning things around in London.

“We have won again but we have not qualified,” he added.

“The result will lift the belief in the team again. When you lose three games in six days, it’s always very difficult. We want to keep our focus and finish the job next week. That’s what the target is.”

Milan entered the tie having not lost in 2018 and with a run of six successive clean sheets.

They were second-best for much of the game although, like Wenger, Gattuso insists his side are not finished.

“Never say never,” he said.

“We go there and we play. We showed that Milan can perform as a good team. We could have scored two goals. We will go there and we will play our match.

“To play in Europe is different to playing in Italy. We should not lose our confidence, we should go forward.”

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