Mauricio Pochettino bemoaned Tottenham’s luck following the 1-1 draw with West Ham at Wembley and hailed their work ethic at the end of the Premier League’s gruelling festive period.
Spurs were back in action two days after a 2-0 win at Swansea City and with Harry Kane restored to their starting line-up following a bout of illness.
It proved a frustrating outing for the England striker and his colleagues as they plugged away for scant reward before West Ham’s first shot of the match – a 30-yard thunderbolt from Pedro Obiang – crashed into the top corner.
A long-range strike of similarly stunning quality from Son Heung-min ensured a share of the spoils, but Pochettino felt his players merited a similar return to their 5-2 thumping of Southampton on Boxing Day.
“In this type of game you create everything to win, you dominate the game… yes, sometimes it happens in football,” he told a post-match news conference.
“You push, you push, you create, you have chances and it’s impossible to score.
“I am happy with the performance and the effort, playing two games in 48 hours. I am very happy with all the players. Sometimes you need some luck to open the game.
“I think it was a similar game to Southampton and one was 5-2 and the other was 1-1.”
Kane and Dele Alli had penalty claims turned away by referee Mike Dean after half-time but Pochettino was keen not to follow the lead of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger over recent days and harangue the officials.
“I didn’t see but I trust the referees. Sometimes it is for you, sometimes it is against you,” he said.
“I am not going to say anything. It is a difficult job for them. Our responsibility is to try and help them to benefit the spectacle and football.
“We need to be focused on our team winning, scoring goals and improving our players.”
Tottenham have excelled in the Champions League this season with wins over Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund to top their group and set up a mouth-watering last-16 clash with Juventus.
Securing a return to Europe’s top table next season with a top-four Premier League finish this time around may yet be something of a tall order but Pochettino is relaxed, with his side three points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.
“I am not worried,” he added. “We are in the middle of the season. We missed opportunities today but we are close.”
David Moyes’ West Ham are developing a handy habit of taking points off Premier League heavyweights in their battle against relegation.
They edged two points clear of the drop zone on Thursday, having battled to a dogged 0-0 draw against Arsenal and beaten Chelsea within the past month.
“That’s the team which beat Real Madrid 3-1, so we shouldn’t be surprised we only had a few shots or be surprised at the way we played,” said the former Manchester United boss.
“And perhaps you shouldn’t be surprised we took a point because we went close against Manchester City, we beat Chelsea and drew with Arsenal.”