Mauricio Pochettino - Tottenham Hotspur 'showed character' despite loss to Barcelona

Mauricio Pochettino - Tottenham Hotspur 'showed character' despite loss to Barcelona

Mauricio Pochettino - Tottenham Hotspur 'showed character' despite loss to Barcelona

He hit the post twice with near identical efforts at the start of the second half and it was one of those nights where the 31-year-old proved, once again, why he's the best player on the planet.

Pochettino did, however, hail his team's resilience as they mounted a second-half fightback.

Lionel Messi scored two of Barcelona's goals against Tottenham. In the second half, he had more space and that is hard to stop.

Here, we pick out three main talking points to arise from the game.

Two goals against the run of the play kept Tottenham in it, but they need to learn how to better control space if they want to compete with the best. This looked like it would be lesson in how you kill off a game as quickly as you can, then continue to force your opponent into awkward defensive situations.

The Catalan giants got off to a ideal start as an error in judgment from Hugo Lloris allowed Jordi Alba to pick out Philippe Coutinho for the simple tap-in. It seems Spurs will play a back four with Kieran Trippier at right-back, Toby Alderweireld alongside Davinson Sanchez while Ben Davies comes in at left-back.

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"With all respect to other players who have won it [Ballon d'Or], we know there is a player who is different to the others and that is Leo Messi", Rakitic said post-game.

Perhaps he is becoming to Barcelona what Karim Benzema is for Real Madrid - a tireless centre-forward whose worth to the team is far greater than what he delivers in the goals column. Sure, they missed the pace and dominant aerial ability of the suspended Samuel Umtiti as Harry Kane in particular bullied their back line in the second half.

The Catalan giants went on to boss proceedings in the first half and Clement Lenglet managed to get on the end of Messi's free-kick from the left in the 15th minute, but failed to keep his header down.

Pochettino pointed to that mistake as the key component to why Barcelona were able to dictate the game and get Messi into plenty of space.

Tottenham lost their opening European game at Inter Milan, leaving the Premier League side with no margin for error as they try to qualify for the knockout stages.

Spurs will have to take on Barcelona without Christian Eriksen, Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen, who have joined Dele Alli on a growing casualty list.

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