Pochettino proud with Spurs ‘dominance’ of Juve
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said his side “dominated” the 2-2 draw against Juventus at the Allianz Stadium.
Spurs fought back from a horrific start to claim the ascendancy in the tie after goals from Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen, overwhelmingly winning the battle for possession and pinning the Italian champion back in its own half for long periods, The Independent reported.
The statistics seemed to back Pochettino up: Tottenham’s two goals were more than Juventus had conceded in its last 16 games combined. Spurs had 67 percent of possession. Hugo Lloris completed twice as many passes as Sami Khedira. Mousa Dembele completed 100 passes on his own.
“For 83 minutes, we dominated Juventus,” Pochettino said.
“That is a thing to praise. I don’t think many teams can come here and dominate a team like Juventus. We dominated possession, we forced them to play deeper, and they only had the transition and the counterattack to create chances.”
Pochettino admitted he feared the worst after Juventus raced into a two-goal lead within just seven minutes.
“My feeling was so bad, because you hope that situation never happens,” he said. “We need to be more solid to manage the beginning to the game. But that was the start of another game. OK, nothing to lose. We started to feel more freedom.
“And we started to show the patience that we showed in the last few weeks. Of course, I feel so proud. We showed great character against a team that in the last three years played two finals, with amazing experience on the pitch. That shows how good we were.
“It is important to say that we played with one day less. We played Saturday, Juventus played Friday, and in this type of competition one day is a lot. We had to play Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. It’s always emotional, you spend more energy. And when you are 2-0 down, you need more and more energy. The effort was amazing, fantastic, and I want to congratulate them.”
For Pochettino, Tottenham’s fightback demonstrated that this is now a side capable of challenging for the very
biggest prizes. “That,” he said, “shows we are mature enough to compete in the Champions League. This is our fourth season, and always we are improving. This aspect [maturity] was the last, but necessary to try to fight for big things.”
Meanwhile, a furious Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri rounded on his critics in the Italian media for their inflated expectations of his side.
“If someone thought Juventus could win 4-0, that was not realistic,” he said.
“Winning the Champions League is not easy at all. We are not the favorites. Every year we reach the final and we do our best.
“This really drives me nuts. The size of the other teams is very important. The top priority of Juventus is the seventh championship [in a row], which is a lot. We are making huge efforts and we are about to go through in the Coppa. But if you believe a draw like tonight could suppress us, that is something I don’t accept. We have a draw against Tottenham in the Champions League, and it is like a big loss. It is not like this.”
EUROSPORT Christian Eriksen (R) and Erik Lamela of Tottenham Hotspur celebrate the Danish midfielder’s equalizer in the 2-2 draw against Juventus in Turin’s Allianz Stadium in Italy on February 13, 2018.