Boss has ‘no regrets’ as under-strength Spurs are knocked out of the FA Cup
Two first-half goals for Crystal Palace make it a bruising week for Mauricio Pochettino’s weakened side
27 January, 2019 — By Allan Ledward at Selhurst Park
FA Cup, Fourth Round
CRYSTAL PALACE 2
SPURS were knocked out of a cup competition for the second time in four days this evening as two first-half goals for Crystal Palace made it a bruising week for the north London club and its fans.
After Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final defeat at Chelsea, Mauricio Pochettino’s depleted side dominated possession against a similarly under-strength Palace, but were unable to take their chances.
At a frosty but noisy Selhurst Park, it was apparent that both sets of fans had more enthusiasm for the FA Cup than either of the managers.
Palace took the lead in the ninth minute when Jeffrey Schlupp squeezed his way past Davinson Sanchez before his shot was pushed out by Paulo Gazzaniga, giving Connor Wickham a simple tap-in.
And the visitors went further behind in the 34th minute when Palace were awarded a penalty after Kyle Walker-Peters needlessly handled a cross as he jumped with Wickham. Former Spurs winger Andros Townsend stepped up to comfortably convert the spot-kick.
Spurs were given a golden opportunity to get back into the game shortly before half-time when Juan Foyth was chopped down in the penalty area by Patrick van Aanholt. Kieran Trippier stepped up but dragged his effort wide of Julian Speroni’s post.
Trippier’s miss, which Pochettino later identified as a major turning point in the contest, came moments after his clever free-kick had given Georges-Kevin N’koudou the chance to score from close range, only for Speroni to pull off a brilliant double save.
Spurs showed greater urgency and tempo after the break but on the rare occasions when they did open the Palace defence up, they were unable to truly test Speroni.
Fernando Llorente hit a limp shot straight at the goalkeeper on the hour mark, and Trippier sent in a dangerous volleyed cross six minutes later that the striker failed to get on the end of.
Speaking after the match, Pochettino said: “It was a fair result, because they scored and we didn’t.
“We can talk about possession, we can talk about shots, but if you don’t score you don’t deserve to win games, and they scored twice.”
And the Spurs boss insisted he had no regrets about his team selection.
“We played with the best team that we can play,” he said. “It was a moment for different players to play, to help the team.
“We’ve had some crazy fixtures and we were forced to take some decisions.”
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, van Aanholt, Dann, Meyer (Milivojevic, 78), Kouyate, Townsend (Ayew, 87), Zaha, Schlupp, Wickham (Benteke, 69) Kelly.
Subs not used: Tupper, Sakho, Wan-Bissaka, Riedewald.
Spurs: Gazzaniga, Trippier, Vertonghen (Lamela, 46), Sanchez, N’koudou, Dier (Wanyama, 62), Walker-Peters, Llorente, Foyth, Moura (Sterling, 80), Skipp.
Subs not used: Lloris, Rose, Winks, Aurier.