Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino says his side are still “alive” in their Champions League semi-final, despite losing 1-0 to Ajax at home in the first leg.

Donny van de Beek’s goal gave the Dutch side victory over lacklustre Spurs in London on Tuesday.

“It was an even game in the second half. We pushed them,” Pochettino told BT Sport.

“It’s only 1-0 down. We need to believe we can go there and win the game.”

However, history is against Spurs’ chances of reaching a first European Cup or Champions League final.

Only one of the 17 previous teams to lose the first leg at home in a semi-final tie has progressed into the final.

And Pochettino took responsibility for Spurs’ showing in the first half, when midfielder Van de Beek scored the only goal on 15 minutes.

“We started not in a good way,” he said. “Ajax showed more energy. It was difficult for us to play. It was our lack of energy.”

The Argentine acknowledged a change of shape from a five-man defence to a back four aided his side.

“I can accept it was a mistake, the shape we used,” he said. “But there were not too many options. I am not happy – you cannot guess what happens if we play in a different way.

“It was the not the shape that conceded the goal. Our approach to the game was not good. I am the manager so I have responsibility.”


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