In the end, it wasn’t just the result, but the manner of our performance that left all Spurs fans echoing Hugo’s words after the 1-1 draw. “We can be proud.”
Mauricio Pochettino played two up front as Fernando Llorente joined Harry Kane ina 3-5-2 system. Harry’s fellow Academy graduate Harry Winks, just 21, relished the midfield battle against Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro - the midfield trio that started the Champions League final in June as Madrid clinched their 12th Champions League/European Cup.
In fact, 10 of Madrid’s line-up on Tuesday started that night in Cardiff with the only change Achraf Hakimi in for injured Dani Carvajal. Moussa Sissoko and Serge Aurier impressed down the right and Hugo described his defence as ‘heroic’.
Of course, the skipper was also there when needed with two breath-taking saves to deny Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo in the second half.
We had chances as well with home goalkeeper Kaylor Navas also taking plaudits particularly for a fingertip save to deny Harry Kane a potential winner 20 minutes from time.
The draw left both teams with identical records at the top of Group H. APOEL and Borussia Dortmund also drew in Nicosia, leaving us six points clear with three group matches remaining.
Below: Hugo with Harry Winks at the final whistle
“As I said to Harry and the young players, don’t forget where we’ve come from,” reflected Hugo. “Three seasons ago we were in the Europa League and last season we discovered together the Champions League.
“We were a bit disappointed with our performances but now we can be proud because we have shown the right face.
“It was a great challenge for our young team, a great opportunity to show the face of Tottenham against the best club in the world.
“We can enjoy it because it was a great team performance but now we need to carry on. It will be a tough game at Wembley.”
As always, there was no going overboard from the skipper, particularly looking back at his save to deny Benzema from point-blank range - another world-class addition to his personal album...
“I did my job. I tried to do my best, as usual. I touched the ball more times than usual but that’s normal because the opponent is a great opponent.
“I helped the team but it’s not only me - my defence was heroic.”