We needed to be more clinical.
The defensive parsimony that defined last season’s fairytale run to the Champions League quarter-finals seems to have dissipated.
“The feeling is that we lost two points but when you don’t kill the game this can happen”, mused Pochettino. The teenager’s shot was parried by Danijel Subasic but Lamela was on hand to fire the rebound home.
After two seasons of looking like a £30m punt that has gone horribly wrong, Erik Lamela provided further evidence that he is finally coming good when he fired Spurs ahead.
And with Monaco wasteful – Andrea Raggi, Adama Traore, Fabio Coentrao and Lacina Traore were all off target with efforts – Spurs should have been 2-0 up at the break. “We worked very hard for it, it was difficult, especially in the first half – we went 1-0 down and Man City were very strong”.
West Ham and Southampton have already exited the Europa League, while Arsenal and Chelsea fell to shock defeats in their Champions League matches on Tuesday, although Manchester United and Manchester City helped avert that slide with wins on Wednesday.
Just days after the departure of oft-maligned technical director Franco Baldini, so key to the signing, Lamela began and ended a move that gave Spurs a deserved lead – one chalked off by substitute El Shaarawy late on as Monaco secured a 1-1 draw. The Principality side only managed a draw with Anderlecht in their opening game, but Leonardo Jardim’s side have let in eight goals in their last three league games having sold two top defenders in Layvin Kurzawa and Aymen Abdenoour.
The 20-year-old Belgium global, whose only previous start came in Bordeaux a fortnight ago, produced a burst of pace which took him past Leo Lacroix on the right of the penalty area, from where he crossed for Lallana, who had come back from an offside position in the initial phase of play, to score.
The outcome could have been worse for the Londoners but for a late block from Danny Rose. Lamela tapped into the empty net.
Liverpool settled for a 1-1 draw at Anfield against Swiss side FC Sion in the Europa League on Thursday.
The game started in a slow, measured fashion, with Monaco sitting back and Spurs dominating possession – and it took nearly 20 minutes for the first chance to arrive as Rose burst through the middle and played a through ball to Harry Kane.
Spurs could have increased their lead barely two minutes later after another swift counter-attack but Subasic pushed away Harry Kane’s shot.
The AC Milan loanee nodded home a brilliant cross by Nabil Dirar in the 81st minute.