Danny Rose has revealed that Mauricio Pochettino’s half-time team talk during Saturday’s north London derby was “one of the best things I have witnessed in football”. “I felt as if I was going into war,” the Tottenham defender said after the 1-1 draw with Arsenal at Wembley.
Spurs were unusually sluggish in the first-half, conceding an early goal after a Davinson Sanchez error allowed Aaron Ramsey to race clear and round Hugo Lloris. But they improved markedly after the break, equalising through a Harry Kane penalty before Hugo Lloris saved Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s last-gasp spot kick.
And Rose has credited his boss with the turnaround, admitting that Pochettino — who was only forty-five minutes away from losing three consecutive league matches for the first time as Spurs manager — abandoned his typically calm and collected approach to inspire his players with an impassioned speech.
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“The manager said some things at half-time and that was the turning point, because he is usually really calm and collected,” Rose said. “He normally talks to us at half-time and this time it was like he was really sending us to war.
“It was one of the best things I have witnessed in football, his half-time team talk today, and we kept going and that was the attitude he wanted to see in the second-half.
“He normally talks as he is really calm as you have all seen, he’s calm on the sidelines — apart from after Burnley! But this time he was really passionate, I felt as if I was literally going into war after the team talk that he gave.
“It is literally one of the best team talks I’ve been involved in since I’ve been playing football.”
When asked what impact Pochettino’s team talk had on the rest of the Tottenham dressing room, Rose said: “We’re not used to losing two games in a row. Something needs to change somewhere. Maybe we need a rocket up our backsides, but I think he just tried a different approach. But I liked what he did at half time, it really got me firing.
“As usual, it made me want to fight for him, fight for my team mates and fight for my club. Some people can either take to that or go the other way and I love seeing things like that.
“As you can see in the second half, we had the never-say-die attitude and thankfully Hugo saved us as well.”
Rose was involved in a series of controversial incidents in a predictably bad-tempered encounter between two rivals fighting for the top four, with Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira seeing red for an ugly lunge on the full-back in the dying moments.
And, after the match, Arsenal manager Unai Emery argued that Rose should face retrospective action for a studs-up lunge of his own, on goalkeeper Bernd Leno. “I hope the decision after the match with Rose on the goalkeeper and the Torreira sending off should be balanced,” Emery said.
Rose declined to say whether Torreira deserved his red card or not, although did reveal that the Uruguayan’s tackle left its mark. “I haven’t seen it back, I just felt it was a bit of a foul. I’ve got cuts down my shin,” he added.
“But I get kicked every game, so it’s nothing new. I haven’t seen it again so I don’t know if it’s a red or not but I did feel that it’s caught me through my shin pads.”