Spurs vs Juventus
Tottenham Hotspur were forced through the exit from the top tournament in club football last night as Juventus won 4-3 on aggregate to advance through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The last trophy that Tottenham Hotspur won was the League cup in 2008. Since then, the club has experienced periods of relative success but lacked a degree of consistency under the fleeting governance of Villas-Boas, and later Tim Sherwood. Since his arrival at the club, Mauricio Pochettino has managed to raise the calibre, and has transformed Spurs into a consistent European-standard squad with the potential to win titles. However, it is still yet to happen.
So what happened? Tottenham didn’t lose this game out of a lack of effort or a lack of talent, they pressed Juventus early and provided threats to one of the best teams in the world until the very last minute when Kane, most unfortunately, struck the post with his headed effort. Tottenham did not shy away, to say the least: they totalled 23 shots compared to Juventus’ 9, doubled the visitors’ shots on target, and finished with the majority of possession.
It was this, in fact, that led to Tottenham’s demise. They were outsmarted, not outclassed. Tottenham Hotspur came at Juventus at 100mph and appeared the side desperate to get the goal. Juventus eventually reacted to that style of play with a quick change in formation, having bought on Lichtsteiner and Asamoah to add more width, and within five minutes, they had turned the lead on its head. This is the difference between an experienced, world-class side like Juventus – for whom knockout Champions League matches come almost second nature – and an in-form, confident, yet naive, side that lacks that experience at the top.
Here is what Heung-Min Son had to say about the performance,
🗣️ "We can be proud."
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 8, 2018
Mauricio Pochettino spoke to the press after,
“How many chances did we concede? We conceded three chances and they scored twice. We had a lot of chances and only scored one”
Although the result did not go in Spurs’ favour, the game was nonetheless one that the players can be proud of. Pochettino is evolving the squad through the process of being able to not only compete at that level but to win as well. The future looks bright for Tottenham Hotspur.
What’s next for the Lilywhites?
Spurs are still in contention for the FA Cup title. They play Swansea City on the 17th of March in the quarter-finals. If Spurs were to go on and win the trophy, this would be their 9th time as champions. Similarly, Spurs are currently 4th in the Premier League and only four points behind Man Utd in second. A key aim for Spurs now will be to secure a qualifying position for the Champions League next season. If they couple this feat with an FA Cup victory, the 2017/18 season will no doubt be deemed a fantastic season for the side. With every match Spurs accrue experience and a taste for victory – maybe next year will be the year when this can culminate into a real opportunity for victory on the European stage.