Redknapp: How Pochettino was sucked in by Conte as Tottenham lost to Chelsea
By Harry Sykes
Jamie Redknapp has claimed in the Mail that Mauricio Pochettino was “sucked in” by the tactics of Antonio Conte as Tottenham crashed out of the FA Cup.
Pundits and supporters were widely critical of the Spurs manager’s decision to deploy attacking midfielder Son Heung-Min at left wing-back in Saturday’s 4-2 defeat to Chelsea rather than an established defensive player such as Ben Davies.
It was a decision that Pochettino was made to regret as Son, selected to pin his immediate opponent Victor Moses back in defence, conceded the penalty for Chelsea’s pivotal second goal when he hacked down the Nigerian.
Redknapp is in little doubt that the Argentine got his team selection and tactics wrong despite a reasonably strong performance from his team.
“When I saw Chelsea’s team sheet on Saturday I thought this was Tottenham’s chance to eradicate their ‘nearly-men’ tag,” Redknapp wrote in his weekly Mail column. “With no Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, Chelsea were there for the taking and when Dele Alli equalised it looked like there would only be one winner.
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“Man for man Tottenham had more quality but their soft underbelly was exposed. Chelsea have the cutting edge Spurs still lack in big games. I thought Mauricio Pochettino was sucked in by Antonio Conte’s tactics.
“Pochettino played three at the back to match Chelsea but with Danny Rose out it was a mistake to play Son Heung-min at left wing back.
Son struggled defensively and conceded a penalty with his clumsy challenge on Victor Moses. Spurs must pick themselves up quickly. They are still in the title race and must not let Chelsea seize momentum.”
Spurs now have a short period to reflect on their defeat to Chelsea as they prepare to face what will be a considerably weakened Crystal Palace side on Wednesday night.
Second-placed Tottenham are four points behind league leaders Chelsea going into the midweek fixtures.
Conte’s side host Southampton on Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge as they aim to extend their lead to seven points before Pochettino’s side are in action 24 hours later.
In other Tottenham news, the club have sensationally terminated the contract of one of their emerging stars.