MONACO -- Mauricio Pochettino has admitted that Tottenham need to improve their squad if they want to compete in the Premier League and Champions League after Spurs were eliminated in the group stage with Tuesday's defeat in Monaco.
Goals from Djibril Sidibe and Thomas Lemar, the second 39 seconds after Harry Kane had equalised from the penalty spot, sealed AS Monaco's 2-1 victory at the Stade Louis II and left Tottenham batting for third place, and a place in the Europa League.
In the first few months of the season, Pochettino, his players and even Spurs chairman Daniel Levy talked up the strength of the squad but, speaking after the game, the manager conceded he needs to add players.
"It was a good challenge for us to compete in the Champions League and to show our real level," Pochettino told a news conference. "That is important. After two-and-a-half years we reduced the gap at the top of the Premier League but to be competitive in Premier League and Champions League we need to show more.
"Maybe we need to add more quality in the squad. We have quality, yes. To compete in Premier League, yes, but today you could say we struggled a little bit. When you have problems, injuries, it is difficult to be competitive.
"I am disappointed but I am calm because our project is not finished today. The objective was to be in the Champions League regularly. At the moment to compete in Champions League and Premier League, we struggle a little bit. It is important to be calm in our analysis."
Spurs host CSKA Moscow at Wembley Stadium next month, hoping to avoid a hat trick of home defeats in the Champions League but Pochettino could be forgiven for also wishing to avoid dropping into the Europa League by finishing third in the group.
However, the manager -- who made wholesale changes for last season's defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League round of 16 -- insisted Spurs will be aiming to beat the Russians, even if it means more Thursday night football and arduous trips across the continent.
"One thing is the game, another that we are out of the Champions League. We have to try to win the next game to go into the Europa League," he said.
"It can be frustrating. We are not in the Champions League. It is good for the club to be in the Europa League and go further in the competition. But remember last season, we played Dortmund [in the round-of-16] and we struggled a bit, that level was like the Champions League. We are in a process, we need to improve. We feel bad, disappointed, tomorrow is another day we need to look forward."
Pochettino made the surprise decision to rest Jan Vertonghen for the match, perhaps with Saturday's trip to Chelsea, where the Belgian is likely to play left-back in the absence of the injured Ben Davies and suspended Danny Rose, in his thoughts.
He confirmed Vertonghen was fit to start the game, adding: "We are in a good position in the Premier League, Saturday will be a difficult game. We need to lift the players, go to Chelsea and try to win the game."