West Bromwich (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, insisted after a 1-1 draw away to West Bromwich Albion that his delight at the character they had shown outweighed any disappointment with the result.
Victory would have extended Spurs run of victories in all competitions to six, but Pochettino was satisfied to keep his team’s record as the only unbeaten Premier League side this season.
The draw was the least the visitors deserved after forcing a man-of-the-match performance from Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
Nacer Chadli –- sold by Spurs to West Brom for £13 million ($16 million, 14.4 million euros) in August — put the home side ahead against the run of play eight minutes from time.
Despite that setback, Spurs recovered to equalise through Dele Alli in the 89th minute.
“We should have been more clinical but we showed character after they scored so late,” Pochettino said.
“I’m pleased with the performance. I feel very proud. Their keeper was man-of-the-match as you saw.”
The result left the north Londoners a point behind Manchester City after the Premier League leaders were also held to a 1-1 draw, by Everton.
“Yes it was a missed chance but not only because Man City drew,” said Pochettino. “We missed a chance to win, but it was a difficult, physical game. When you don’t score, you leave yourself open.”
Alli’s goal came after the England international missed a first-half chance and Pochettino said: “I’m happy for Dele Alli but he needs to improve. He had a chance in the first half when he had to score.”
– Alderweireld injury –
The home crowd reminded Pochettino that a draw between the clubs in London had helped deny Spurs the title last term, but the Argentinian was unimpressed. “This is a different period, it’s a different season and we are more mature now,” he said.
Pochettino’s biggest worry after the final whistle was an injury to Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld, who left the field on a stretcher after a second-half collision.
“He has a heavy knock on his knee and leg,” Pochettino said. “We’ll have to wait 24 to 48 hours. Now his leg is very painful but we don’t know (the cause of the injury).”
Albion manager Tony Pulis praised Foster, a member of the England 2014 World Cup squad but whose international career was interrupted by a serious knee injury.
“If you look at the whole game we have Ben to thank,” Pulis said. “It’s about time he made a few saves, he’s not had a lot to do this season.”
Pulis praised Spurs and reminded his club’s fans that remaining in the Premier League, however that can be achieved, is paramount if they still want to see players of such quality at The Hawthorns.
“They are one of the best (teams) in Europe never mind England. It is wonderful that you can watch teams like that, with such an array of talent.
“That’s because we are in the Premier League, and I don’t think anybody should take that for granted, especially clubs outside the top six or seven.
“Because if you start to think you are better than you are, the bottom drops out. You cannot be complacent.”
As for Saturday’s performance, Pulis credited Tottenham with changing their style to such effect that Albion barely saw the ball for the first hour of the game.
“We still looked as if half a dozen players were still away on international duty,” Pulis said. “They stretched us, but we managed to work it out in the second half and gave them a better game.”
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