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Mauricio Pochettino reacts to nine-man Spurs’ “cruel” defeat

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Mauricio Pochettino insisted he “respects” the referee’s decisions to send-off two of his players as Tottenham fell to a 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth.

Just four days prior to Spurs’ return leg against Ajax in the Champions League semi-finals, Pochettino endured a dreadful afternoon at the Vitality Stadium as the Premier League top four race blew wide open again.

Victory would have guaranteed Spurs of Champions League football next season. Instead, they fell to a costly defeat following Nathan Ake’s 91st-minute winner for Bournemouth.

But the main talking point was when Spurs were reduced to nine men in the first half. First up was Son Heung-min, who was shown a red for pushing Jefferson Lerma, in the 43rd-minute.

Next was Juan Foyth just two minutes later after his horror tackle on Jack Simpson. The Argentine defender had been on for 125 seconds after substituting the booked Toby Alderweireld.

Despite nine-man Spurs valiantly holding on for most of the second half, ex-Chelsea defender Ake headed in an injury-time winner for Bournemouth.

“I don’t think too much, we can’t talk too much, we just need to prepare for next game,” Pochettino told Sky Sports.

“The first 40 minutes we played well and created chances but didn’t score. Then we know football can be cruel, they scored in the last minute. We need to move on.

“Nothing to say [on Son’s red card], I respect the decision of the referee. My honest opinion is we have to accept the decision of the referee, you cannot change the decision.

“Again, we need to respect the decision of the referee. It was unlucky for us. Nothing to say. With nine players we defended well and made a good game.

“We are third, we are competing for the top four and in the semi-finals of the Champions League. If you look back at first game of the season, to be in the position we are in today, we’d be happy.”

Pochettino will now prepare his men for Wednesday’s trip to Amsterdam as Spurs look to overturn a 1-0 aggregate deficit in their Champions League semi-final clash with Ajax.