Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is banking on his side’s late equaliser in a 1-1 draw against rock-bottom Watford being the turning point of the season.
Spurs’ crisis looked like plummeting to new depths against a side who were beaten 8-0 in their last away game as they trailed to Abdoulaye Doucoure’s sixth-minute goal.
Another lacklustre display, shorn of any creativity, was rescued by Dele Alli’s equaliser in the final five minutes, but it massively papered over the cracks.
Spurs have competed at the top of the English game in the last few years, but this is now a team that looks more and more like it has run its course under Pochettino.
However, the Argentinian hopes this can be a catalyst to recreate former highs.
“It was so important in the way that we achieved the point in the end, the team was fighting, we showed character,” Pochettino said.
“We have quality but when you are in this type of situation the most important thing is the character you need to show.
“Talent is after, you need to fight and you need to run and you need to be strong in your mind, the effort is double. This is the first step to build our confidence again.
“The team after the 7-2 against Bayern was massive and after five years I think it was the first time that we receive a knock.
“Of course it is new for us, it’s new for the players, it’s a new moment and of course we need time to recover.
“But we need to take it step-by-step, again the first action we conceded again, a very bad goal and then it was tough.
“The most important thing was to show the togetherness and the faith in us and be focused only to improve our game.”
Watford’s quest for a first win of the season – and first of Quique Sanchez Flores’ second spell in charge – fell heartbreakingly short as they were left aggrieved at VAR.
The decision-making system allowed Alli’s goal to stand, even though Sanchez Flores saw a foul by Harry Kane in the build-up, but then the officials at Stockley Park pressed the wrong button, which led to ‘no goal’ being shown on the screens.
Mauricio gives his verdict on today's game. pic.twitter.com/z0byhlYuvc— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 19, 2019
Perhaps more importantly, they were denied what looked a clear penalty after Jan Vertonghen appeared to trip Gerard Deulofeu.
Flores was unhappy Spurs’ equaliser was not ruled out.
“I think it is a foul by Kane, he pushed with two hands” he said. “That is just my opinion. It is very weird, there are many interpretations. It would be good to know what happened.”
On the penalty, he said: “You have probably seen it more times, my opinion is it is very clear, it is a penalty. If you stop the match it is very clear to see.
“I don’t know how it works, I thought that VAR was something objective, but I am starting to think it is very, very subjective.”
Hawk-Eye Innovations, the company that provides the VAR technology, has apologised for the confusion surrounding Alli’s equaliser and said it would look into the incident to ensure there is no repeat.
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