Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino lamented his side’s performance after they were outclassed by German side Borussia Dortmund to leave their Europa League hopes dangling by a thread.
A Spurs side containing seven changes struggled to contain a rampant Dortmund and their misery was compounded by a Marco Reus double in the second period after striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had netted his 33rd goal of the season.
Defeat was not an ideal way for Pochettino to celebrate his 100th match in charge of the White Hart Lane club, while the hammering represented Tottenham’s heaviest loss of the season.
Pochettino, who was without the suspended Dele Alli, opted to start the likes of Harry Kane and Erik Lamela on the bench, and the Argentine accepted responsibility for rotating his squad ahead of Sunday’s Premier League showdown against Aston Villa.
“It was a bad day, we had a very bad day,” said Pochettino. “It is difficult to explain and I’m disappointed with our performance. We did not play well and this is why we lost the game.
“Maybe if we had a different result we would speak in a different way. I accept all the opinions but I always try to select the best team but we had a collective bad day.
“We need to fight next week. Losing 3-0 is not a good result for us but we need to keep working hard and try next Thursday. This was our first time losing 3-0 this season. We need to be calm and be sure it doesn’t happen again.”
A dominant Dortmund opened the scoring on the half-hour mark when a leaping Aubameyang soared above the Tottenham defence and planted a header beyond a static Hugo Lloris from full-back Marcel Schmelzer’s left-wing cross.
Midfielder Gonzalo Castro struck a Tottenham post before substitute Neven Subotic’s glancing header from another Schmelzer cross was ferociously volleyed home at the far post by Reus on the hour.
The hosts assumed complete control of the tie 10 minutes later as a composed and intricate Dortmund carved open Spurs and Reus calmly side-footed home a clever pass from Castro.
It was the 20th time in 42 matches this season that Dortmund have scored three or more goals in a match, while Spurs face a daunting task next week against a side which has won 10 of their last 12 matches.