Two goals in six first-half minutes from Reece James and Ike Ugbo put the Blues in firm control of the semi-final, first leg at White Hart Lane, with a string of excellent stops from goalkeeper Austin preventing the visitors from moving out of sight after the break.
Left-back Tsaroulla praised the 18-year-old custodian, who has enjoyed a real battle with another talented stopper in Alfie Whiteman for the gloves in recent weeks, and admitted his performance spurred the defence on as we continued plugging away before snatching a late lifeline through Kazaiah Sterling, meaning we’re 2-1 down heading into Saturday’s second leg at Stamford Bridge.
“Brandon was very good. He pulled off a lot of good saves and he kept us in the game,” said Nick, who also saw Chelsea’s Luke McCormick miss a stoppage-time penalty. “If you’re going to be a successful team, you’ve got to have a good goalkeeper behind you as a back four and I felt safe with him.
“I had confidence in him saving the shots and my thoughts at the time were just to make sure I was there for any rebound, so we were pleased with Brandon overall.
“Obviously it was very disappointing to go down by two goals but I thought we showed fight as a team and we got the goal late on so we’re still in the tie and it’s all up for grabs. The game is not over yet, that’s what we all believe and that’s what was said in the changing room afterwards.”
The team unfortunately wasn’t able to replicate the fantastic displays of earlier in the competition against the current cup holders and Nick offered a theory as to why: “I think the overload in their midfield helped them a lot to keep the ball more.
“As a Tottenham team, we like to keep it. They had more possession than us, they were very athletic and powerful but as a unit we stuck together. We could have got beaten by more but we didn’t, we stayed together, we kept fighting and held them off. Obviously we’re disappointed with the two goals, it always hurts, but other than that we’re still in the tie.
“As a whole, in the last 20 minutes we showed a lot of passion and desire to get back into the game but on Saturday we need to get the front three going a bit more – I don’t think we fed them enough today, so that’s something we’ll look to do more of. If we start the game how we finished it today, I think we have a good chance.”