Bayer Leverkusen 0-0 Spurs - Mauricio's reaction
18 October 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
In a split-second, Mauricio Pochettino feared the worst at the BayArena.
Just three minutes into the second half of an enthralling Champions League contest on Tuesday night, Bayer Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling broke down the right and cut the ball back from the byline for Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez sliding in, just six yards out, the goal seemingly at his mercy.
“The ball came to Chicharito and he just needed to touch it,” said Mauricio, recalling how he saw it from the technical area. “In my mind, I was thinking 'okay, now we'll need to work hard to score'.”
Just about everyone in the stadium felt the same, but not Hugo Lloris.
Our skipper and goalkeeper had other ideas and somehow not only stopped the ball on the line, but managed to gather it up without it crossing the line.
“It was brilliant, just brilliant,” said Mauricio. “To talk about Hugo, he's one of the best. That's my opinion about him. It's great to have him in goal. His save was fantastic and very important for the team.”
The way the match panned out
It was a classic ‘game of two halves’ as it ended goalless in Germany.
Dele Alli headed wide, Vincent Janssen struck the crossbar and Bernd Leno tipped over Erik Lamela’s follow-up as we had the best of the first half.
The tables turned after the break as Hugo saved from Hernandez and twice down to his right from Charles Aranguiz and Admir Mehmedi.
“It was the game we expected, a very tough game, difficult for both sides,” added Mauricio. “In the end I'm pleased with the point.
“I thought we were better in the first half, they were better in the second half. It was two different halves.
“I'm pleased with the effort because this is a team that plays well, plays aggressive and is always difficult to play against here at the BayArena. We're still fighting and with the draw between CSKA and Monaco, we're in the same position as before.”
Where we stand
CSKA and Monaco ended 1-1 in Moscow, so we know victories in our home games against Leverkusen (November 2) and Monaco (December 7) will go a long way towards progress into the knockout stage.
“After the game it's a good point,” added Mauricio. “It was a game where we wanted to take the three points. After the second half, we need to feel pleased with the draw.
“It’s in our hands now at Wembley. We need to turn around the feeling of that first game against Monaco, to feel that it's our home and try to show that we deserve to win.
“It's tough to recover the points after losing the first game at home but the good win at CSKA and now this draw means it's all open and in our hands to try to go through to the next round.”