Mauricio Pochettino praises Tottenham maturity after Juventus fightback
By Lyall Thomas at the Allianz Stadium
Last Updated: 14/02/18 11:21am
Mauricio Pochettino says the chance for Tottenham to reach the Champions League quarter-finals is there for the taking after a "fantastic" draw in their last-16 first leg at Juventus on Tuesday.
Spurs came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen at the Allianz Stadium, giving them the advantage with two away goals heading back to Wembley in three weeks' time.
Pochettino hailed the maturity and character of his side against last year's losing finalists and insists not many teams can come to Turin and dominate the Serie A champions.
"I am happy because the tie is open and we are going to play the second leg at Wembley, and it will be fantastic because the atmosphere will be great," he said.
"And for the fans it will be fantastic because the hope to go through to the quarter-finals is there. It's only 90 minutes away.
"I feel so proud. We showed great character against a team who played two finals (in the last three years). We are a young team playing in this competition, and I say congratulations to the players to show that performance.
"We were talking in the last few weeks about the team being more mature. We have experience but not as much as Juve. We started not in a good way but showed we are mature enough to compete in the Champions League.
"I think the team was so focused. Only seven minutes that it was difficult to handle. In 83 minutes we dominated them and that is a thing to prize because not many teams can come here and dominate a team like them."
Pochettino admitted he was fearing the worst after Gonzalo Higuain's early double.
"My feeling was so bad," he said. "You never hope that happens, to concede the (early) goal. Maybe it was
offside, but I don't want to complain.
"We start a little bit sloppy. We need to be more solid. Then we concede a penalty, 2-0 down after seven minutes against a great team like Juventus with experienced players.
"Then it was to start another game and the team started to show the performances of the last few weeks. I feel so proud."
Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela produced superb displays but Pochettino praised the impact of Eriksen, who pulled the attacking strings for Spurs.
"Christian played an amazing game," he said. "He was outstanding. All the team as fantastic, but in my three years and 10 months here Christian was always an important player for us.
"Every season he steps up and grows up and he is this type of player that represents our philosophy. He links the team."
Fantasy Head to Head
Challenge a mate in our brand new Fantasy Football head-to-head mode. Play for free!