Moura-mazing stuff in Amsterdam last night (see what I did there) as Spurs unbelievably came back from the brink, no doubt inspired by the previous night’s proceedings at Anfield, to turn a 0-3 aggregate deficit around to go through on away goals in dramatic last minute fashion.
You simply couldn’t have put it in a Roy of the Rovers Magazine and got away with it.
I feel most sorry for Ajax and for all there endeavour, they played with style and fluidity throughout their Champions League campaign but have naivety in their young squad and like the rest of the world must learn to understand that the best English teams will never give up. For now Ajax the great team of 2019 will probably be long forgotten by historians and I feel an injustice for them, without reaching that final they deserved there side will now inevitably get broken up before it peaks with their best assets off to those high spending under achieving clubs in the big leagues..
But last night wasn’t about Ajax.
It was about Tottenham Hotspur and their blubbering Coach Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine has been at the club for five years now and hasn’t won anything… But that is not the real story. If he was Managing Chelsea he would probably be out the door by now, but he has respect within the game for how he goes about his business and has proved that with time, if you stick to what you believe and don’t make hasty decisions that all good things will eventually come. Tottenham Hotspur have never reached the dizzy heights of a European Champions League final until now. Time to start believing that history will be made?
Pochettino is a likeable Coach, one that will put his hand on his players shoulders and pat them on the back when they are doing well, one that would put an arm around them when things aren’t going so good, one that has a simple philosophy of ensuring his team is defensively solid but potent in attack. Poch is not like Klopp at Liverpool, quite different in fact. He’s not everyone’s mate, he’s not the ring leader in a cult where each and everybody is harmonious, he’s the Manager, and players respect that, they keep there distance, come to him when things aren’t going to plan and talk to him direct. His decision is final and if you don’t accept it, you leave the club, if you do, you get back to work and improve just as the likes of Danny Rose and Moussa Sissoko have done.
In his first season at Spurs he lead them to the League Cup final, in his second year he ‘nearly’ won the league eventually falling to third behind their arch rivals Arsenal all be it a distance from champions Leicester, three seasons in and his side finished above Arsenal and an improved second to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, a year later it was another third place finish and a Champions League last sixteen slot (a second successive season ahead of the gunners). This year Tottenham became the first team in Premier League history not to sign a player in the summer transfer window. In fact they didn’t even sign one in the winter window either. Pochettino believes in what he has and if he can’t get what he wants he won’t make do with second best. Testament to the trust he has in his players. Tottenham have faltered of late due largely to their lack of depth in that squad, but they have got over the line in the Champions League, they now must get at least a point in their remaining league game to get over the line in qualifying for next seasons Champions League, although more importantly it would pip Arsenal (again) in to a top 4 place.
I used a boxing analogy in my review of Liverpool and Barcelona, well last night Spurs were on the canvass at 2-0 down needing three second half goals without any reply to go through. If Roy of the Rovers wouldn’t do it… Perhaps Rocky Balboa would be sufficient? Three knock out punches from the Brazilian Lucas Moura would silence the Johan Cruyff Arena in a remarkable evening that saw history repeat itself.
The greatest couple of days in Champions League history? Certainly if you’re English it is? Now the final between Liverpool and Spurs will be one that highlights the positivity surrounding the game in England right now. With Gareth Southgate and his national team doing everybody in the nation proud, we will look to showcase the biggest night in club football with the very best the Premier League can offer and that is kudos to two marvelously ran teams who have both great but very different styles of coaches at the helm.