Colchester: Mauricio Pochettino claimed his struggling Tottenham side are “unsettled” after they suffered an embarrassing League Cup third-round defeat at fourth-tier Colchester on Tuesday.
Pochettino’s team were beaten 4-3 on penalties after being held to a goalless draw by a club 71 places below them, with Christian Eriksen and Lucas Moura both missing during the shoot-out.
It was appropriate that Eriksen’s effort was saved as the Denmark playmaker has been focus for much of the unrest in the Tottenham camp.
Eriksen said he wanted a new challenge at the end of last season, but his hopes of securing a move were dashed.
Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama also endured uncertainty about their futures and, even now the transfer window is closed, it remains uncertain whether they have long-term prospects at the club.
Pochettino conceded there are still issues behind the scenes, contributing to Tottenham’s lacklustre start just months after their incredible run to the Champions League final.
“When you have an unsettled squad always it’s difficult and you lose time and then you need time to recover the time you lose,” Pochettino told reporters.
“That’s where we are. Maybe our performances are good but you need this extra, which is mental, connection, it’s energy to be all together, not to have different agendas in the squad.
“We need time again to build that togetherness that you need when you are competing at this level.
“We are in a period where it’s a bit tough for us but we keeping working to find a solution.
“When this type of thing happens it’s about staying clear and fresh and calm. We’re trying to find solutions and we only need time.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes it would be a mistake for the FA to punish Bernardo Silva over a deleted tweet in which the midfielder compared teammate Benjamin Mendy to a cartoon character.
Silva posted a tweet on Sunday likening Mendy to a character in the logo for Conguitos, a brand of confectionary popular in Spain and Portugal but deleted it an hour later.
The 25-year-old Portuguese posted a second tweet that said “can’t even joke with a friend these days ... you guys” but anti-racism body Kick It Out condemned his actions saying racist stereotypes are never acceptable as ‘banter’.
British media reported the FA had written to the Premier League champions seeking an explanation.
“If they want to do that and ask for Bernardo, he’ll be open to talk,” Guardiola told reporters after City beat second-tier Preston North End 3-0 in the League Cup on Tuesday.
“But first, you have to know exactly which person you are talking about. If something happens it will be a mistake because Bernardo is an exceptional person.
“It’s nothing to do with colour of skin or nationality.” Guardiola looked to further play down the incident, saying that Mendy had not taken offence to the tweet.
“There are many situations with white people where a cartoon will look similar. The response from Mendy was clear. They are joking all the time,” Guardiola added.
“Bernardo is one of the most lovely people I’ve met in my life. He speaks four or five languages — that’s the best way to understand how open-minded he is.
“One of his best friends is Mendy. He’s like a brother. He took a picture of Benjamin when he was young and related it with this cartoon, quite similar for the image.”
English League Cup
Arsenal 5 Nottingham Forest 0
Colchester 0 Tottenham 0
Colchester won 4-3 on penalties
Crawley 1 Stoke 1
Crawley won 5-3 on penalties
Luton 0 Leicester 4
Portsmouth 0 Southampton 4
Preston 0 Manchester City 3
Sheffield Wednesday 0 Everton 2
Watford 2 Swansea 1