Two goals in three second-half minutes saw the Italian giants claim a 4-3 aggregate victory in our UEFA Champions League last 16 tie at Wembley and end our 17-game unbeaten run, stretching back to mid-December.
When asked what his message would be to Spurs supporters across the globe after a bitterly disappointing European exit, goalkeeper and captain Hugo said: “First of all I want to thank the fans for their support. I think we’ve had some great moments at Wembley in the Champions League this season and the only thing I can say is that we’re going to keep working and believing in ourselves to be back, hopefully, in the Champions League next season in our new stadium.
“If you see the big picture, we finished first in a group which included Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid and we were close to going through against Juventus, so there are a lot of positive things.
“I know in football you are only motivated by winning and it was not the case this time so it makes us a bit frustrated, but now it’s important to keep our focus on the FA Cup and the top four because this is our target – we want to be back in the Champions League.”
Following a rousing comeback to draw 2-2 in Turin in last month’s first leg, we took a 3-2 lead against Juve on aggregate when Heung-Min Son converted in the first half on Wednesday night.
But quickfire goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala midway through the second period turned the tie around and ultimately led to our downfall, despite some excellent play at both ends of the pitch.
“Sometimes football is cruel but it’s part of the game,” explained Hugo. “Today we can keep our heads up because I think we did some positive things in the game. Unfortunately we lost it in two situations that we should have dealt better with but in front of us was one of the biggest teams in Europe, they have a lot of experience and they showed their mentality because even at 1-0 down they didn’t give up and kept faith in themselves.
“We’re going to learn about this big disappointment. We are still a young team but Juventus are used to winning a lot, they’re used to playing a lot in the Champions League and they have the experience of this stage of the competition.
“For us it was our first time with this team but we’re going to keep working because we have a lot of quality, we have a very talented team and we’ll show it again. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough this time.”