Barcelona 1-1 Spurs - Mauricio's verdict
Wed 12 December 2018, 05:22|Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino declared ‘we’ve made the impossible, possible’ after we progressed to the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League on a dramatic night at the Nou Camp.
Staring down the barrel after taking one point from our opening three matches in Group B, wins against PSV and Inter meant qualification was back in our hands as we kicked-off against Barcelona on Tuesday night. Victory would take us through but whatever the scenario, we needed to match Inter’s result against PSV.
An early goal for Barca wasn’t in our script as we found ourselves 1-0 down after seven minutes but better news from Milan that PSV had taken the lead.
We grew into the game and started creating chances. Heung-Min Son raced clear only to be denied by goalkeeper Jasper Cillesen, who saved from Christian Eriksen early in the second half. Harry Kane fired over and had a header blocked. Eriksen and Son tried their luck again but then the news we didn’t want to hear - Inter had levelled against PSV to move ahead of us in the table.
We had 15 minutes to find a goal and Cillessen’s best save of the night to keep out Lucas Moura’s point-blank header only increased the tension. Hearts were then in mouths when Philippe Coutinho struck the post for the second time.
Thankfully and deservedly, we found the crucial goal with five minutes left. Eriksen found Erik Lamela, he went left to Kane and his low, driven cross was buried by Lucas six yards out. Inter were held by PSV and we secured second place to move into the last 16 of the competition. The draw is scheduled for 17 December with ties played in February and March.
“It’s a massive achievement for the Club,” said Mauricio. “I’m very happy for the players, for the fans, for the Club. It’s so important to be in the next stage of the Champions League. It’s a massive boost for everyone. Now we keep going.
“We were a little unlucky in how we conceded the first goal after seven minutes and that changed our strategy a little and we started to play in two different stadiums - here at the Nou Camp and in Milan.
“In the second half we found a way to link play better in our possession and started to create chances. We deserved to go through. We’ve made the impossible, possible and it’s important to show everyone if you believe, everything in football is possible.
“That emotion is so important and we need to protect that and use it in the right way, trying to push with everyone involved and the belief that we can improve and do better.
“That is the key, because football is so dynamic and now we need to think about the next game and try to win matches, that’s most important.”
Mauricio on our fans...
Mauricio made a point of going back out to the pitch after the final whistle to thank our supporters situated up in the top tier of the huge Nou Camp arena.
He added: “It was being respectful to everyone and thanking them for their support. There are many, many people here and to share the happiness with them was so important.
“In all football clubs, the fans are a very important part of the success and key for the club, the team and the players. That’s why I wanted to say ‘hello’ and say ‘thank you’."