Tottenham respected Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino too much - Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino said he is frustrated by different aspects of Tottenham's passing in their last two defeats and suggested his defenders were intimidated by Liverpool's forwards last Saturday.
Spurs have given the ball away in dangerous areas against both Jurgen Klopp's Reds in the Premier League and Inter Milan in the Champions League in the last week, losing 2-1 both times.
But Pochettino has identified contrasting deficiencies and feels it would be entirely wrong to apply the same analysis to the two games.
"I think maybe having in front of us players like [Mohamed] Salah and [Roberto] Firmino, we respected them too much," he said. "But maybe [against Inter] because we didn't know [Matteo] Politano and [Mauro] Icardi, we didn't feel that pressure that we felt against Liverpool.
"Probably we felt more the scenario or who we were playing against with Liverpool than Inter. It's something [former Argentina international Jorge] Valdano has said in the past.
"Liverpool allowed us to play from the beginning -- they never pressed us so high -- but we were so slow moving the ball [out of defence].
"The difference is Inter provoked and forced us to play quick because they pressed so high, and we made some mistakes of course, but always the team tried, tried, tried. I think it was an amazing example of building from the back."
Pochettino said he felt that his team was slow playing from the back against Liverpool and then tried to rush things at times when they needed to remain calm, making it difficult for Spurs' offensive players to get into the right position. Against Inter, the team had the opposite problem.
"Against Inter we were so good at moving the ball from the back, finding a very good pace and putting our offensive players in very good situations, but then we reduced the pace! That was the difference between the two games.
"We played so many long balls against Liverpool. How many long balls against Inter Milan? If we'd played against Liverpool as we did against Inter, be sure the result would be completely different."
Although Spurs have been struggling with their build-up play and have lost their last three games, Pochettino does not want to see his players abandoning his principles and adopting a more direct style.
"If we put the ball in the air and we are going to fight for the ball, we are going to lose," he said. "The example is clear. Every time that the team played well, kept possession and played in the way that we want to play, we were close to winning.
"We are not a team that can play fighting like Atletico Madrid, who are so comfortable playing deeper, going on the counter-attack and when it is 1-0 in the last five minutes they're impossible to penetrate -- bam, closed.
"They have experience playing like this. We are a team who are comfortable in possession, in the opposition half. That's the team we have, the players we have, and how the squad is. It's impossible to change.
"To change that is to change your identify and it will be so tough to win games in a different way."