Mauricio Pochettino insists Tottenham dropping into the Europa League would be a ‘blessing and not a curse’ after their early Champions League exit.
Spurs’ hopes of progressing in Europe’s premier tournament were dashed after a 2-1 loss to Monaco left them three points adrift of Bayer Leverkusen, with whom they have an inferior head-to-head record.
Harry Kane gave the visitors temporary hope when he cancelled out Djibril Sidibe’s opener with a penalty but a third goal in four second-half minutes from Thomas Lemar sealed the French side’s victory.
Hugo Lloris, again his side’s stand-out performer, had earlier saved a spot-kick from Radamel Falcao.
While Monaco are now guaranteed to go through as group winners alongside Leverkusen, Tottenham can still secure third place and qualification for the Europa League with a draw at home to CSKA Moscow next month.
The competition has proven a nightmare to juggle with the Premier League in recent seasons, but Pochettino dismissed the idea that missing out might prove beneficial.
“It is good for the club to go into the Europa League and try to go further in the competition. I think it’ll be good,” Pochettino said.
“Remember last season we played against Borussia Dortmund and we struggled a little bit. That level was like Champions League.”
Reflecting on the defeat in Monaco, Pochettino continued: “I am upset with that game and the way we conceded goals but in the same way I am quiet and calm because our project is not finished today.”