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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Pochettino admits Tottenham 'were so poor' as they escape with a replay against Newport County in FA Cup

Took a late equaliser from Harry Kane to earn Tottenham a 1-1 draw at the League Two side on Saturday.

Harry Kane, centre, came to Tottenham Hotspur's rescue with the equalising goal in their 1-1 draw at Newport County on Saturday. Andrew Matthews / PA via AP
Harry Kane, centre, came to Tottenham Hotspur's rescue with the equalising goal in their 1-1 draw at Newport County on Saturday. Andrew Matthews / PA via AP

Mauricio Pochettino criticised the desire of his Tottenham Hotspur players after Harry Kane had kept them in the FA Cup with a late leveller at Newport.

Kane struck eight minutes from time - his 30th goal of the season - to spare Tottenham's blushes in a 1-1 draw and secure a fourth round replay at Wembley against their lowly opponents.

Padraig Amond had headed Newport into a 38th-minute lead and the League Two side looked like claiming one of the FA Cup's greatest-ever upsets until Kane tapped home from close range.

"The key for the game was to match the motivation, desire, fight and challenge of Newport," Pochettino said. "But the team didn't show really that they want to go to the next stage of the FA Cup.

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"That is what has disappointed us a lot. The theory is to win trophies and it's easy to talk about that. But I think we missed a massive opportunity to show we really want to win a trophy.

"I hope that helps us realise that if you don't fight in football you can not win. I am here five years and I hear that the FA Cup is magic when a Premier League team and a League Two plays. But if I'm honest I don't see much difference today."

Under pressure to deliver a first trophy in his fourth season at Tottenham, Pochettino named a strong side led by Kane and featuring the likes of Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele.

But Tottenham created few chances until Dele Alli's arrival as a 65th-minute substitute when Newport came under fierce pressure.

"I am relieved a lot because we were so poor," Pochettino said. "But credit to them because they were fantastic.

"We raised our level in the last 30 minutes, but why wait until the end of the game to try to fight?

"If you fight from the beginning of the game I'm sure you can show with your quality that you are the best side.

"You can talk about tactics or shape, but the most important thing was to show the same or more desire as them or more motivation.

"This is not an easy game, and if a Premier League team is not motivated as the same level as Newport and in all these aspects they beat us."